These come from Katie Patmore, a wonderful dog behaviour expert in Sheffield. You can find her here. She offers classes and problem dog behaviour counselling. She is a very special person, lovely to both humans and dogs.
HOW TO TEACH SETTLE DOWN
This is one of the most useful exercises your dog will ever learn. It will teach your dog to settle down whenever you want him to. It is not a stay exercise. Start at home at a time your dog is likely to settle, ie after a meal or a walk. Make is as easy as you can for yourself and your dog. This may be the first time he has been ignored, so this exercise is not without some stress for some dogs. Usually this will be of short duration
HOW TO TEACH “SIT”
Choose a good food treat. Stand facing your dog and show the treat. Move your hand and the treat over her head towards her tail. Her head will follow the treat and her bottom will hit the ground. At exactly this moment say “Sit” And give the treat and praise lavishly. There is no need to press her bottom down to the floor. If you move the treat correctly, she will do it of her own accord.
Always use the same command word “Sit” on its own with no added words. Make sure all the family stick to the same single word. Do not teach anything else until this is part of her repertoire.
Practice this not just at home but in the park, and elsewhere so that she does it in all circumstances. Once she is really good at it, you don’t have to reward her with food every single time but you must continue to reward her with food every now and again so that she stays motivated to obey.
HOW TO TEACH A DOG TO LIE DOWN
For this bit of behaviour it is best to use the word “Flat” rather than the words “Down”. The word “Down” is often used in other contexts – like telling a dog to “get down” from a chair – and this makes it more confusing to a dog. So use the word “Flat” and make sure all the family know this.
When the dog has begun to learn to sit, show him the treat while he is sitting. Then move your hand to ground level, saying “Flat”. His head and body will start following the treat. Move the treat forwards along the ground so that to get it he has to lie down. As soon as he is in the right position, give the treat and praise lavishly.
Always use the same command word “Flat” on its own without any added words and make sure the family all use the same single word. Do not teach anything else till this is part of his repertoire.
Practice this not just at home but in the park, and elsewhere so that he does it in all circumstances. Once he is really good at it, you don’t have to reward him with food every single time but you must continue to reward him with food every now and again so that he stays motivated to obey.
HOW TO TEACH FIND
Teaching your dog to find, while out walking, is to gives it the chance to express its hunting and foraging instincts. This will make walks more exciting and does not require difficult training. We can’t give them a caribou in the garden, but we can give them a hunting experience.
General rules for “Find”
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All normal safety precautions should be taken when dealing with animals. The advice in this section should be taken only at the owner’s own risk. All sick animals should be seen by a vet.
General advice of the kind found in this website is no substitute for an individual consultation with a vet or qualified behaviourist working on a vet’s referral.