One of the first things to teach your AussieDoodle puppy. In this training article, we will learn a few critical skills. Once your puppy has learned sit, it’s a very natural progression for them to learn eye contact, and then on to their name.
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Sit, Eye Contact, Learn your name, written by Jennifer.
In this training article, we will learn a few critical skills. Once your puppy has learned sit, it’s a very natural progression for them to learn eye contact, and then on to their name.
Preparing for training session: Prepare some treats into small bite size pieces. Make these high value (super yummy!) treats. Choose a quiet place with few distractions, in order to keep puppy’s attention. Before starting the exercise, “charge up” your marker word, or your “click.” Dogs will quickly learn each time they hear the ‘clicker’ sound or ‘good girl’ something good is coming their way. So click, then give your dog a treat. Say “good boy,” then give your dog a treat. Do this a few times before every training session, to get your dog in MOOD for training.
SIT: We will start this training session with teaching our puppy to sit. The mechanics are fairly simply, and are demonstrated in the accompanying video. While sitting in the floor with your puppy, let them sniff your hand with treats in it. Then slowly move your hand close to your body, towards your chest. If puppy starts to jump or climb on you, simply ignore this behavior. Be a statue, silent and still. DO NOT let the puppy get any treats from your hand. Be patient, wait for puppy to THINK of what they should do. Your puppy wants the treats, so they will try to figure out what it takes for you to give them one. It won’t take them long at all to offer you a great SIT. As soon as they do – mark the behavior (using the click noise or ‘good boy’). Timing is important. Once your puppy has consistently correctly mastered “sit” – it’s now time to move on to our next important learning.
EYE Contact: it’s critical for our puppies to learn eye contact. We want them to understand the rewards come from YOU, not from some magic hand dispenser in front of them. Your puppy will quickly learn to associate treats with YOU, by making eye contact. The moment eye contact is made, click or say ‘good boy.’ Don’t wait for them to look longingly in your eyes. In fact, if you try to force a long eye contact in the beginning, they won’t understand what you want.
Why is eye contact important? When taking dogs off leash or on a walk, outside of our house – we want them to always pay attention to us and look at our eyes. This will help ensure good behavior and good choices are made, and help us to keep our pups safe! Once your puppy has started consistently offering eye contact for treats, it’s time to move on to our next command, learning their name. When a dog learns to reliably come to their name, the sky is the limit on what you can do with them, where we can take them, and how much fun we can have with them.
NAME recognition: When your puppy gives you eye contact, start adding their name when you give them treats as reward for the eye contact. This is teaching your puppy that when you call their name, they need to look you in the eye. This sets up for future training as well. Each time your puppy makes eye contact, give them a treat and say their name. Do this several times in a row, so your puppy will make the association. A few words of caution: don’t use your dog’s name too casually otherwise it will become white noise. It needs to be meaningful and with reward. As your puppy reliably learns his/her name, you will slowly be able to remove the treats and replace with praise and affection. Also, never use your dog’s name to correct or punish her in any way. Her name should predict something wonderful 100% of the time.
Know when it’s time to end the training session: Your dog will start to show you when they are tired. They may become less interested in treats, start licking or scratching themselves, show less attention to you, etc. When your dog shows you they are tired – STOP training. ALWAYS end training on a positive note and never with a dog that is no longer able to pay any attention to you.
Train Often: Puppy training sessions should be short sessions several times a day. Just like children, puppies have a short attention span. A lengthy session will not be effective because puppy will lose focus. Training sessions should be about 5 minutes, minimum 5 times a day. Remember, dogs don’t generalize well, so have sessions in different rooms of your house, as well as outside in a controlled environment such as a fenced in yard. If all of your training sessions are in one room, then you will notice your dog seems to only know the desired behavior in that room. It’s up to you to teach them in many settings they will face in the real world.