Back when I started writing the Purely Puppy blog, one of the topics my editor suggested to me was "how to train your puppy." So, I’m in the car typing while we go on a family road trip to Galveston, Texas, and I figured this would be a good time to expound on this fascinating topic.
So fascinating in fact that I need to mention that they don’t cover this in vet school. Does this come as a surprise to anyone? I memorized the Krebs cycle and the biochemistry of glycogen storage (granted that stuff is long forgotten), but not how to get your dog to heel. Heal … sure I can heal stuff, but I don’t even know what "heel" means. My dogs walk on their leashes ahead of me sniffing stuff. Mia wears a fancy harness that keeps her from dragging me around.
The only thing I know is how to teach a puppy to sit. It’s really cool because you can do it in about a minute in the exam room. It makes me look like a super dog trainer guru, but really it’s the only trick my dogs know.
You just take some kind of yummy treat and kind of hold it at eye level in front of the puppy’s nose; then slowly move it back over the pups head while he looks up at it. Eventually the pup has to sit down to look up at the treat (I’ll video it and attach it here, because I imagine my description is lacking). Then you say "sit," and let the puppy have the treat. Keep it up and the pup will sit preemptively for the treat.
All three of my dogs have been to obedience school. Two of the three graduated. My husband took Mia the Lab and they dropped out when he decided that she’d learned everything she needs to know. That is, will sit on command. I could have accomplished that at home for less money.
In my office, clients who want to learn anything beyond "sit" get a recommendation for our local dog trainer. And every vet I’ve known has a pile of business cards for those trained professionals that have proven to be reputable and effective.
(Note to readers who receive this post as an e-mail: Please click the link at the top of the page to view the embedded video on our site.)
Dr. Vivian Cardoso-Carroll