Basic Canine Training


In canine training there are no right ways to train a canine but there are definatly wrong ways. In this book I'm going to try to show you some of the best ways I've found to train a canine and point out the wrong ways so you can stay way clear of them. We'll start off the book by getting your pup used to a collar and leash then we'll move on to Holdtraining then to four of the most common commands that you can teach a pup. So, without further adieu, I give you Basic Canine Training.

Sr. Apprentice Karen

The leash and collar

The best time to start with a puppy is between 5 and 8 weeks. They'll be more receptive to training then and won't try to be difficult like some older canines are. The first things you want to do when you start to train a pup is to get them used to a collar and leash and to teach them the proper place to do their business, which will be discussed in the next chapter.

When pups are young you should be gentle with the collar so you won't make them afraid of it. The collar and leash are vital to some of the commands a canine should learn so without the item you won't be able to teach the pup much. You don't want the collar too tight or else your puppy will become angry and frustrated but at the same time you don't want it too loose either or else the puppy will find ways to wriggle out of the collar. That again is not good since the puppy can simply slip out of the collar if she doesn't want to do something making it harder to instill discipline in him or her.

After you have the collar on you add the leash. The leash shouldn't be too long, so you can keep your puppy near you and under your control. You don't want the pup wandering off to smell the roses when you're trying to teach them to heel, do you? Now that you have the collar and leash on him or her you'll want to go for some walk with the pup so they may get used to the objects before you start the actual training.


Holdtraining mostly consists of teaching a canine to go outside when it needs to relieve itself, not inside, but there are still other aspects of it that we will talk about first. You must be able to keep a very close eye on your pup. Canines by nature are very curious animals. Outside it's OK to be curious and get into things, well most things anyway, but inside there are many things that would spell disaster if a pup got into it. It could hurt itself and others by getting into things it's not supposed to and at the very least break something. Now you should keep all valuables or dangerous items up and out of the pup's reach but if you see your pup getting into something it's not supposed to get into you must first catch the puppy's attention and say 'no' in a very firm voice and then take the puppy out of whatever it's into and put it on the ground in another direction. Before you place the puppy down however you should pat the ground lightly and point to it, maybe even add a little praise in like 'Good girl' to show the dog she'll be a good girl if she's where your pointing. You should not treat them though or else they might try to get into trouble on purpose just to get the treat. That is a definite no-no. After you have pointed to the ground then place the puppy on the floor in that spot. After getting into things many times and being told 'no' after all of them it should get the idea that the ground is where it is supposed to be. Not on beds or couches or anything else.

On to potty training. Your puppy will probably need to go several times a day, more so after eating, play, and sleep. When you notice the puppy has to go pick him or her up and place them at the door. Wait a few seconds then verbally praise the canine so you let it know that it needs to go to the door when it needs to relieve itself and wait for you. Then let the puppy outside to do its business. You might want to keep the puppy on a leash until they've been taught the come command or else he or she will just be as apt to wander off and won't come back. After they go, again praise the puppy verbally or possibly give them a small treat. It is natural for a puppy to go inside until it's learned otherwise so you must not think of messes as a setback. Use these messes to teach the puppy that it is not right to go inside. Verbally discipline him or her by saying 'no' in a firm voice.


The first of the five basic commands is 'sit'. Teaching a canine to sit is more complicated than you may think actually. Now there are tons of different ways to make a canine sit. Most of you have probably been told the best way would be to push on the canine's hind end until they're in a sitting position and then reward them. Well that's *not* the best way. If you want to train with positive reinforcements, the first task is to get the *canine* to sit, as opposed to putting the canine in a sit. Canines learn much faster if their own mental processes control what is happening. So if you try to teach a canine to sit by pushing on its rear end, they will learn that when you say sit you are about to push its rear.

So now you face the problem of trying to get a canine into a sitting position without pushing on their rear. The best way I've found to do this is to put your fist in front of the puppy's nose and then move it back over the head, not going too high. Most puppies will follow your hand and when then can't see it anymore plant their back end as a side effect.

As soon as the dog is in the position, reward them with a piece of meat or jerky. If your canine likes to play more than treats give them a play toy instead. Now sometimes you'll find a canine that won't respond to the fist movement. If that happens try the same thing but with the treat you were planning on giving them afterwards. Sometimes that will work. If not you need to use your imagination to get them into a sitting position, take into consideration what the puppy likes and doesn't like but above all, remember 'Get the *canine* to sit, don't put them in a sit'.

When you've found a way to get the puppy into a sitting position until you think she's comfortable with it then start adding the cue in a strong, firm voice. Sit. Somewhere between twenty and forty repetitions of the behavior with the cue, followed by a reward, will result in the canine associating the cue with behavior. After that it's better to just reward for the fastest sits or perhaps the nicest. Soon you'll have a canine that will sit as pretty as can be.


This command is relatively simple but as with all commands you must have patience. It's good to have your puppy on a leash for this one so they don't wander off. You need to start by crouching low to the ground and as far away as the leash will let you. Then draw a line with your finger from the puppy to your side saying in a firm, yet nice voice 'come' along with the puppy's name. The rule 'Make the *canine* do it' goes into affect with this command also. Don't force the puppy to come to you by pulling on the leash, just encourage it along the way. Most puppies will come quickly and when they are by your side praise them and give them a treat to let them know they've been good. Then move away again and repeat the procedure. it won't take that many repititions for the puppy to associate 'come' with moving to your side.


For this command you must again have a collar and leash on the puppy. Be careful if you have a more rowdy canine, make sure they're settled down and comfortable before you start or you'll have a hard time making them stay. Once they know the command it won't matter too much then but for training they have to be comfortable. Then have the puppy sit and hold the leash straight above their neck. Apply slight pressure. The canine will have almost no choice but to stay. Then put your hand in front of the canine's face as a hand signal, palm facing them. Make sure you have the canine's attention and then proceed around him or her slowly repeating the command 'Stay' every 5 or so seconds. If when your circling around the canine they try to spin around when your out of eyesight it could just mean your puppy is a bit insecure when your not in it's eyesight. Start again with the command but this time make sure to stay in the puppy's eyesight. When the puppy is more familiar with the command try moving completely around him or her again, it should feel a bit more secure since it knows what your doing. Back to the command, after you've circled around the puppy once start to slowly loosen the collar as you continue around still repeating 'stay'. You will be successful when you may move away from the canine, the leash fully extended and he or she will not move. Praise the canine highly then and treat them. It's also recommended to praise the canine at intervals while your walking around them to let them know that they're doing good. But don't be frustrated if the canine doesn't learn in the first five times or so.. This command is harder to learn than most. If you stick with it your canine will learn though.


Teaching a canine to heel is one of the hardest commands to teach simply because the canine can get it mixed up with 'come' very easily. They won't know they're supposed to continue walking along beside you unless taught properly. Now for this command you must have a collar and leash on the puppy and you must along keep in mind the rule 'Make the *canine* do it' as always. You don't want to just drag the canine along beside you saying heel. They might get the idea eventually or just start walking along to avoid getting choked but then when the puppy's off the collar and leash they won't heel to you properly because they never truly understood the command.

So the first thing you want to do is stand right beside your canine and take a step forward while repeating the command 'heel' With your empty hand start at the puppy's nose and draw a line with your finger from her to your side. If they've already been taught 'come' they should respond quickly and come to your side. You then want to continue walking forward repeating 'heel' and using your finger again. Once the puppy is beside you and trotting along nicely you don't have to draw lines anymore but do continue to say 'heel' every once in awhile. After a short walk stop and praise the canine to let him or her know that they've done well and try it again. You want to do this several times a day until your sure the puppy understands what they are expected to do. If not they will get frustrated with you and that is the worst thing you can do to a pup while your training them.

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