When Eileen Hailey enters a client's home, her ultimate goal is to have a household where the dog and human family members have a nice mutual relationship.
"I want the dog to be well-mannered and responsive in real life situations," says Hailey, owner of Second Chance Dog Training Services Inc. "To me, basic obedience is to have a shared vocabulary."
Because dogs think in black and white, it's essential that everybody in the household sticks with the same training rules and uses the same words.
Hailey teaches her clients to interact with their dogs using positive reinforcement. Dogs are rewarded with treats in the beginning, and later with praise or toys or walks, and only intermittently with treats. Training sessions should be kept to 3-5 minutes for puppies, and 5-10 minutes for adult dogs, a few times a day.
Once learned, basic obedience commands can be used to redirect a dog's behavior.
"A dog can't be sitting and jumping at the same time," says trainer Eileen Hailey. "He can't be chasing kids if he's on a 'stay.'"
1. Face the dog and bring a treat in front of his nose. Say your dog's name and then say "sit" while raising your hand slightly over the dog's head.
2. The natural response to this movement will be for the dog to go into a sit. As soon as the dog sits, give him a treat and lots of praise.
3. Use a release word such as "OK", "Release" or "Done" to let the dog know when it's OK to move again.
1. Have your dog sit or stand.
2. Place your hand in front of the dog's face. Say the dog's name and then say "stay."
3. After just 1-2 seconds, if your dog has not moved, praise your dog and give him a treat. Use a release word to let the dog know when he can come to you.
4. Progress first by increasing the length of the stay and then the distance between you and the dog.
1. Start out with the trainer and dog in one room. Call the dog's name and then say "come." When she responds, reward her with a treat and lots of praise.
2. As training progresses, increase the distance between you and the dog. When the dog comes every time, introduce a distraction like children at play.
3. Once successful indoors, move the training to the yard and then to the local park.
1. Place your leashed dog by your side with both of you facing in the same direction.
2. Hold a treat in your hand next to your hip. Say the dog's name and then say "heel" as you step forward. When the dog responds by walking correctly alongside, reward him with the treat.
3. Start with small distances and work up to longer walks.