Sit and Stay Level 1
This week our focus is on re-establishing a foundation of two basic commands; sit and stay. Week 2 we will begin teaching the heel command. Iggy had puppy training until he was six months old, so he has an idea of what's going on. Since then, he's had a good routine of daily exercise, but the basic commands were not being reinforced for long term memory. What does that mean? He was being asked to sit, stay, come, heel etc. without consistent rewards. He eventually stopped performing because the reward wasn't worth it. Many times when owners tell me their dogs just don't listen, what that really means is we, as owners, stopped rewarding our dogs for the behavior we wanted before it made an imprint on their brain.
The imprint should teach them that completing the task ALWAYS means something awesome! It takes 2-4 weeks to teach a new behavior to your dog and then another 3-6 months before it sets into long term memory. That means you could potentially be rewarding your dog for completing a command up to 3-6 months before you stop using a toy or treat every time. After that, you must continue to sprinkle treats, toys and praise rewards in forever. Yep, for the rest of your dogs life. Sound crazy? Think of it this way... if you play a sport, let's take baseball for instance. If every game you played had no winner or loser, no score. It was just hitting, fielding and running bases. We could play for awhile, but eventually nobody cares about errors, runs, hits or even great plays. Why? Because there is no reward for doing something great! But if there is winning and losing, we learn something... so do our pets. Let's take a performer for instance. Why do they go to a theatre to perform the same show, night after night, day after day? Because the audience is constantly giving them feedback. Good, bad and ugly... but feedback is fuel to keep going. Don't stop giving your pet positive feedback when they do something right or they will lose hope that you want them to win! You can do this, your dog can do this. Stay consistent and repeat with rewards and your dog will amaze you... they always do!
Each week there will be a printable homework sheet that you can do with your dog. It's designed to provide accountability, motivation and help you track your progress! These are the exact worksheets that I use with our clients here in NYC.
Do your best to go as far as the video suggests each week. This is designed to teach or reinforce each command for seven days before moving to the next level. The next four weeks at a glance:
The two videos here are level 1 for sit and stay.
Stay Level 1, Part 1 of 2
Stay Level 1, Part 2 of 2
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