When getting a new dog there are a slew of articles, training tips, books and so forth that can surely make your head spin. To a new dog owner it can be a little overwhelming. Over time consistency is always the most important aspect when training a dog, but if you are looking to get the most results in the shortest amount of time my advice would be to keep it simple and use less words. That’s right, less words. Dogs do not speak English (or any human language for that matter) and even if you think your dog is a genius (and he or she might just be), the less words you use, the better. Here are the only 3 words your dog should know the first 2 weeks you get them.*
Your dog should know their name, and have positive associations with it. In order to do this, it i important to not over use their name. Only call them when you are sure you can reward and reinforce if they like at you and/or start moving toward their name. You can do this by keeping a leash attached and some treats handy. For example “fluffy” she looks at you, mark the behavior of getting your dog’s attention with a “GOOD”, reward then praise.
Good is a marker word that marks a moment in time when your dog has done something that is exactly what you want. Loading the marker “good” allows your dog to understand that is the desired behavior you wanted. More important than telling your dog what not to do, teaching them that good is such a valued word they will begin offering up desired behaviors much more frequently. A lot of times we give our dog attention and tend to magnify the negative when we should magnify the positive. This is called free shaping behaviors, check out our video on this.
At KeenDog we use Keen as the release command. A release command lets your dog know that they are free to do whatever they please (well not unwanted behaviors such as eating that cornbread on the counter, but being free to say hi to someone, get an off leash field run, or go about their business). This is important because your new puppy or dog will learn to stay in a command until released or given another obedience cue. By training a solid release command you will work on your dog’s impulse control and staying ability. You can avoid a lot of time , money and frustration by just taking the time to teach them to stay in a down, place, recall, heel or sit until released. Watch importance of release command, and how to train.
There you have it, 3 words your dog should know. No matter the age of the dog your dog can learn these 3 commands. Training starts from the day your new pup or rescue dog comes into your home, so begin laying the foundation of these commands right from the start!
*I will be using the term mark a behavior, if your unfamiliar watch the video above and if you would like to receive free handout on it fill out our contact us form.