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Washington 4-H dog obedience project (phase 1)

By James E. Havens, Lynn Lucas Jones

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A well-trained, obedient dog is a source of pride and satisfaction. A good dog is more likely to find acceptance by neighbors in the community. A disobedient, uncontrolled dog can be a worry and a concern. He can be a liability to his owner as we 11 as a nuisance to the neighbors.

Training in obedience will increase the acceptance of a dog as a desirable pet, not only by the immediate family, but also by the community.

The training procedures suggested in Phases 1, 2, and 3 should be helpful whether the dog is kept as a pet, or for work, breeding, or show. Although the major emphasis is to make your dog a better dog to live and work with, many owners will also want to enter their dog in obedience trials. For this reason, additional information is given to help you understand show ring procedures.

Obedience training is valuable for both you and your dog. The training will help you understand your dog better. It will also help your dog better understand you. Just as you do not understand exactly what your dog means each time he barks or growls, your dog does not understand each word you say. "Heel, " "Come, " and "Sit" mean nothing to your dog. They are just sounds until he has been trained to their meaning. You mayhave found, however, that your dog can tell when you are happy, sad, or angry, just by the sound of your voice. Watch your dog the next time you yell at someone. He will probably run for a place he thinks is safe.

This is important to remember. When you train your dog, you can show him you are pleased by your voice, as well as by petting. In this way, you can show your dog you are unhappy without laying a hand on him. Let your dog know what you mean by the sound of your voice. Practice changing the sound to show that you are angry or happy.

Phase 1 will help you become better acquainted with your new puppy or dog. In it, you start on the road to further training by beginning at a home-training level.

If you have a new puppy, you can begin this training when he is three months old. If your dog is an older pet, you can begin right away. This training will help both of you become reacquainted as to who is the boss and who does the work. It will gradually bring your dog into the habit of listening to your commands. It will be connected with your daily routine and care of him. This is important, because it will break the training into several short sessions a day. Your dog will not probably know that he is being trained. In keeping training sessions short, a puppy's attention span will not be strained. This same rule applies to older dogs. If you keep the training sessions short, your older dog will gradually get used to the idea of taking orders. As he begins to learn more steps, the training session should be extended to 10- to 15-minute periods a day. Always remember, no matter how long a session lasts, praise your dog when he has done something right and play with him after each session.

The saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is not true. If your dog is healthy, there is no age limit for training. To train an older dog, you must show him that he is making you happy. Your dog does not work just to let off steam. He is working to please you. You may have heard people say, "My dog just can't learn." The dog can learn, but the trainer may not have learned how to teach him. It is easy for a dog to learn a dozen or so signals. His biggest problem is figuring out what to do when you are not there and he is on his own. You have to be smarter than the one you teach. This does not mean you must have all A's on your report card. It means that you must plan each lesson carefully and be patient with your dog during each session.

If your dog becomes cross and angry, show him you are not happy with the way he is acting. Be firm, but be patient. Show your dog you are happy with his attempts to please you.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 1969
Pages 23
Publisher Washington State University
Location of Publication Pullman, Washington
URL http://hdl.handle.net/2376/10620
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal consciousness
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animals in culture
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Dogs
  7. Health
  8. Mammals
  9. nuisance
  10. obedience
  11. Pet ownership
  12. Pets and companion animals
  13. Physical environment
  14. Social Environments
  15. training