Where to start? If you’re new to puppy parenthood, that just may be a question you’re asking right about now.
Let’s start with the basic commands: sit, stay, and come. This is similar to teaching a youngster basic etiquette. You want to teach these elements in a very simple, one-word style. Don’t tell your dog: “Come over here, Goldie.” That’s way too many words for her.
Instead, use one word: “Come.” To ensure her compliance use your tone and your gestures. As we’ve mentioned before, the Golden Retriever breed is one which is extremely receptive to hand signals and tone. Use these to your advantage every chance you get.
Before any training session, make sure you walk your puppy. When you do get down to business, don’t hold long training sessions. It’s far better to train for short, productive spurts of time. You can even do this two or three times daily. It’s also most effective to train him before he eats. Afterward he may be too sluggish (you know how you feel following a good meal!).
You’ll also want to hold the sessions in an area that contains the least amount of distractions. Now for a quick training session for the trainer on the three most important commands: sit, stay and come.
Boot Camp Lesson #1:
Take your Golden into a room where the two of you can be alone. Place a collar and leash on him. Holding the leash with your right hand, place your left hand on the puppy’s hindquarters.
Then say “sit” in an authoritative voice. You can extend the command to include her name. “Sit, Goldie.” Don’t raise your voice. Just be firm. While you’re saying this, gently and steadily press down on her hindquarters.
At the same time pull the leash upward to keep her from lying down. Keep her in this position for a while; if he attempts to jump back up, stop him.
No, your Goldie isn’t going to become the master of this command the first time you show it to her. You’ll need to repeat this for at least an entire session or until she loses interest.
Don’t forget the element of praise in this learning situation. Every time she sits (even with your help), tell her what a good dog she is.
Once Goldie has demonstrated this command several times in a row, remove the leash. Try the command again. If she’s trained, she should be able to obey without your assistance. If she can’t, don’t become annoyed. Simply put the leash back on and continue working on this aspect of training.
If you plan on taking your dog hunting with you, then you’ll want her to be able to read your hand signals as well. You certainly don’t want to scare the prey away while you’re giving her commands.
Now’s a great time to teach her this as well. Once she has mastered the verbal command, hold up your hand or even just one finger in a distinct motion. Say “sit.” Make sure she can see the signal. Always use the word and gesture together so your dog connects the two.