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Use Food Lures to Shape Your Puppies Introduction to Sit, Stand and Down

by Robin MacFarlane

A simple and effective way to begin teaching your dog basic behaviors.

Training with food lures is a fun and easy way to begin shaping obedience commands with your dog. It is particularly fun when you get to do this training with young puppies.

In this video clip, I'm working with a young lab puppy that is about 11 weeks old. This is such a great time to start training. Young puppies are so easily influenced, especially by food! One of the early things I want to teach them is how to move between the three positions of sitting, standing and lying down.

My goal is simply to acquaint the dog with the various positions and to get him moving from one to the other on his own accord (without me having to touch him too much).

Once the pup progresses, I can begin to lengthen the duration of holding each position but for the beginning stage, I just want to get him transitioning smoothly.

Take a look at how this is done. Notice I keep hold of the treat to lure and I don't release it until the pup has achieved the correct position. It is important to reward the behavior when either the butt touches the ground (Sit) the belly touches the ground (Down) or the dog is standing still on all four paws (Stand).

Notice also that I don't say too much. In this early stage I shape the behavior and only try to name them if my timing is exact just AS the pup is achieving the correct position.

If you repeated Sit, Sit, Sit as you try to get your dog into position, be aware that this becomes your command. You actually end up teaching your dog a three-word cue!

Since that is unlikely what you want, stay silent and only say the word one time. Say it just AS your dog is going into position. This is how you create the association between the word and the behavior.

Later, after enough practice, the words become precursors to the behavior, but for now, they should occur simultaneously.

Have some fun with this. Food luring is a very simple and effective way to begin teaching your dog basic behaviors.
-- Robin

Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.
  • Robin writes for Gun Dog Supply on our E-collars Dog Training blog
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  • Pull-Quote= Lure & Reward Training: The simple and effective way to begin shapping basic obedience.

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