It’s been so nice reaching Autumn! The days have been getting much cooler and the doona is back out again for night-time. After a nice morning , I’m finally getting to sit down and make my next entry. I realise more and more each day how much a 21 month old toddler is a person in his own right. We went to the library this morning for story time, some colouring and to pick out a book to take home. Machines are a particular favourite of his at the moment, especially ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’. It’s amazing what a distraction 10 minutes of Thomas will do when trying to hang out a quick load of washing! Each time it’s put on, his soft toy, ‘Thomas’ is found, and taken over for cuddles while watching the show. We found a Thomas book this morning and an excited toddler, said ‘TAIN!’, held it close and carried it out of the library. Trying to take the book for a couple of seconds to actually borrow the book was quite a hassle! Especially from a toddler with an iron grip who seemed convinced he wasn’t going to get it back. Once we got back to the car, we both enjoyed a toddler’s version of the story as he ‘read’ it to me in the car. They certainly know how to melt your heart!
Onto the next training command. Stand is good to teach. Again, all you really need is yourself, your dog, some yummy treats, some free time and patience. Ensure there are as little distractions as possible (e.g. in your house or backyard), and once they are doing the command repeatedly, you can progress to areas or higher distraction.
Why is stand a good command to teach? It is very helpful when you’re doing any sort of grooming, giving a bath, at the vets, or just transitioning between commands/tricks.
- Start with your dog in front of you with his attention on you.
- Ask him to sit while still in front of you.
- With a treat between your thumb and forefinger, hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose.
- Using the treat as a lure, gradually draw your hand straight out away from his nose. Your dog’s nose should remain attached to your hand.
- As soon as he’s standing on all 4 feet, say ‘YES’ and reward.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat until he is standing consistently and confidently.
- At this stage, you can add in a command (‘stand’) WHILE he is in the process of standing from a sit.
- Repeat and reward.
- The luring hand becomes the hand-signal for stand – for example, for Toby, I use a flat hand with palm facing towards Toby and move my hand away from his head.
- Again, with time and practice, you can add in more duration (e.g. wait a couple of seconds before giving the treat), distractions and distance.
- If your dog’s getting confused, take it back a step to where they are getting it.
- Keep training sessions short! 5-10 minutes at a time to keep their attention before focus is lost.
- If your dog’s not getting it (or any trick) straight away, don’t get frustrated. Always finish on a good note, give your dog a pat, take a break and try again later.
- Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice and catch your dog doing the right thing, the more he will do that.