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A crate is not “doggy jail” it is a place of sanctuary for your puppy or dog. With proper introduction to the crate your dog will view it as his own private room where he can get some peace and quiet. House training puppies is more easily accomplished with the use of a crate as it provides a “safe house” when you cannot closely supervise the activities of your puppy. You would not let a toddler have the run of the house unsupervised; most people would use a playpen or other form of confinement so the child stays safe in the environment, the same applies to your puppy.



   
   Companion obedience classes teach you how to train your dog for everyday living.


   
   These are some tips to help you get results in your training.





   
  

Puppies are empty slates waiting to be filled with information. The information the puppy gets is very important to how the pup will behave as an adult. If you want a dog with good manners, is good around all people and is secure with the environment you need to imprint these behaviors while the pup is very young. The socialization and imprinting phase is from approximately 28 days of age through the 4th month of age. You can teach your puppy obedience skills (basic through advanced), hand signals, tricks, tracking plus much more before the pup turns 5 months of age. When imprinting you do a lot of show and tell, you do not expect that the pup will be accurate just that he gets the skills imprinted. If you wait until the pup is 6 months old you lose the phase of his life when learning comes easy, it is better to instill good behaviors while your pup is young rather than try to solve issues later that should never have been allowed to take place.

To start working your puppy you will need a 6 foot leather or nylon lead, a buckle collar and some treats. I don’t like to use treats for every aspect of puppy training, for obedience work I would rather hand place the puppy so that I get the response to command quickly instead of waiting for the pup to give me the response while being lured with a treat. I want the pup to understand the action with the command word so hand placement is the fastest, easiest way to accomplish this. Plus I want the puppy responding to my praise as a reward not responding just to get the treat. Treats do have their place in training puppies though and will be used when teaching the “Recall” command as well as during socialization to people and environment.





   


Hold the leash in your right hand grasping it close to the bolt snap so the dog does not have much wiggle room. Place your left hand on the croup (where the tail joins the body) fingers towards the tail. Command “Sit” while applying pressure straight up (over the dogs neck) on the lead as you press down and forward (like a scooping motion) on the croup.


   


No one likes a dog jumping all over them especially if the dog has wet muddy paws! Your guests will appreciate your dog much more if the dog has learned to keep four on the floor. Your dog will learn that she gets much more attention as well if her feet are on the floor not on the company.

There are several different methods to teach your dog that jumping up is not acceptable. We will cover 4 methods in this article.


   

The Canine Good Citizen test or CGC is designed to show that you have basic control over your dog and that your dog is social, has good manners and is not a nuisance in public.

The CGC is a 10 phase test that includes:



Accepting a friendly stranger: The evaluator will approach the team and shake hands with the handler. The dog must not jump on the evaluator or growl etc.


Sitting politely for petting: The evaluator will pet your dog, the dog must not show shyness or resentment.


Appearance and grooming: The evaluator inspects the dog, combs or brushes the dog lightly, looks in the ears and picks up each front foot. The dog must accept the handling without showing resentment.


Out for a walk: The handler takes the dog for a short walk which includes a right turn, left turn, about turn and stop. The evaluator may call out the directions to the handler. The dog does not have to “heel” perfectly but needs to stay with the handler and not pull on the lead.


Walking through a crowd: The handler and dog walk close to several people (the people may be moving around). The dog may show casual interest but not jump up on any of the “crowd”.


Sit and Down on command/Staying in place: The handler shows that the dog can do a sit and a down. The handler may not push the dog into the down position. The handler will then choose which position to have the dog in to perform the stay. Once commanded to stay the handler will then walk to the end of a 20 ft line turn around and immediately return to the dog. The dog must hold the position and stay in place until the handler returns.


Coming when called: With the dog on the 20 ft line the handler walks out 10 ft turns and calls the dog to come. The handler may use enticement such as patting legs or clapping hands but may not pull the dog by the lead. The dog should respond quickly and happily to the handlers call. The dog does not need to sit upon arriving to the handler but should not run off either.


Reaction to another dog: Two handlers with dog’s approach one another, shake hands and exchange pleasantries then move on. The dogs should remain next to the handler and can show casual interest but should not attempt to play or show aggression to one another.


Reaction to distraction: Distractions are presented such as people on crutches or in wheelchairs, books dropped, umbrella opened/closed etc. The dog may not panic or show aggression.


Supervised separation: The handler will hand the dogs leash to the evaluator or assistant and go out of sight for 3 minutes. The dog should remain calm; no excessive pacing, no whining/barking, no jumping on the evaluator, no trying to escape etc.


   To pass the CGC test the dog must pass all 10 items of the test. If you pass you will receive a document stating that fact which you send to AKC for an official certificate. Having a dog that has passed a CGC test will sometimes be helpful with insurance companies, landlords etc. The CGC is not an obedience title; it just shows that you have basic control over your dog and that the dog is not a threat to the public.


   
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Agility builds confidence in your dog as well as being great exercise for both dog and handler!



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