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Command Training

We highly recommend that if you have a new puppy that you take an obedience class. Taking an obedience class will help in starting them out right, before any problems develop. Check with your local Humane Society, PetCo, PetSmart or any number of qualified trainers in your area.

Wag N Train Terrier Rescue has Certified Dog Trainers that provide Obedience and other classes, in the Omaha area, and sometimes do individual training sessions. Click on their name, above, to get more information.

Contact us for additional recommendations.

With all the tips and training, positive reinforcement is a key element. In this, you offer a reward, something good or positive, in exchange for the desired behavior, which makes that desired behavior more likely to occur. This can be anything that your dog views as "good" like toys, treats, or a happy scratching and petting for a job well-done. If you use a treat or food item, it should be something small and soft, as your pet will quickly eat the prize and wait for more.

In the reward section, not only is consistency important, but timing is everything. You should give the reward within 3 seconds of your dog responding with the correct action, so that the reward is perceived in direct correlation with the desired action. For example, if you ask your dog to "sit" and they sit, give them a reward as soon as they do it. If you wait, and the reward is given when they stand back up, they may connect the reward with standing.

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At first you want to give a reward every time your pet does the desired response. Use a good term with each command that stays consistent, and pair with a hand gesture.

Once your dog begins to respond consistently, you can begin reducing the reward to every other time, until all that is needed is the hand gesture and command word. You can mix it up with rewards, but remain consistent with commands and gestures, as these are what you ultimate want your dog to respond to.

The reward response is applicable to all commands that you are trying to train your dog to do. To follow are some examples:

Sit, Stay, Speak, Fetch, or any non-leashed Command Training Tips

Keep in mind, when training a dachshund, that you want to refrain from teaching them tricks that could eventually cause injury to their backs. Although it's cute to see rover roll over, drop dead with a finger point and "bang," or sit up, these are all potential disasters for their back health.

For the utility commands, using a small treat or whatever your dog has in their "want" list, hold it over their head and say the command, like "sit" and use your hand gesture for the same. Maybe use closed fingers, as in holding something for "sit," and open hand, palm facing them for "stay." When they respond appropriately, reward them immediately. The hand to the side and "Okay" to release them.

For beginners, work on the desired command first, like "sit," before advancing to commands of "stay" and "okay" (to release) to ensure your dog is command ready.

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Walk, Come, Off, Leave it, and No Bite - Leashed Command Training Tips

Now, let's look at some of the commands that are a bit more advanced and needed to help your dog be a good citizen in public and at home.

The first step is to ensure that your dog is accustomed to the leash. For training purposes, the most effective collar is a "pinch collar" which, when used correctly is an excellent tool in leash training your dog. To see how to properly fit and adjust the pinch collar click here.

Pinch or Prong Collar: Used for Training purposes ONLY. Must be removed when you are not training your dog. Experts will tell you that effective control of your dog comes by not only using the consistency and proper commands, but also using the proper tools. Never use a pinch collar on a dog exhibiting signs of fear, as this will only add to the issue. Consult with your trainer for the best methods and/collar for your dog.

Regular Collar: used for keeping tags, remains on your dog at all times. Not effective in leash training, as your dachshund can easily slip out of it, should the right squirrel come along.

Harness: used for walking, riding in cars, boats (with safety vest), and other activities where you need them readily controlled should the unexpected occur where full-body control is needed to protect your dog.

Safety is always first and foremost!

If you want the combined control of a collar and harness, we suggest you use a short double-leash attachment, which you can attach to both the collar and the harness. Just know that it's the tug on the collar that exerts the proper control message.

For training, we suggest a leash that is no longer that 4 feet, 6 feet maximum. Using greater lengths encourages your dog to wander, which is counter-productive to the overall effectiveness of leash training. The only time your dog should be given more than 4-6 feet of distance, is when they are allowed to romp and play in the yard or a park.

With leash training, your goal is to get your dog to either do something, or stop doing something. Some of the things you want them to do: Come when called, Walk despite the distractions, Wait or Stay while opening a door. Some things you want them to NOT do: Not jump on furniture or people, Not bite while playing (especially with children), or to Leave something alone (like poop ~ yuck).

Most of the commands in this area work well together, depending on what you want your dog to do or stop doing. There are other tips, tied to specific behaviors, you should use, to add to the overall effectiveness of your command.

Start with the basics. Use your collar/leash combo and work on training your walk properly (in the right direction) and come when commanded. Be sure to not over do it, giving your dog time to adjust and learn with daily, consistent training. Start with just 10 minutes a day, the first week. As they begin to respond without hesitation, to your commands, you're ready to add additional commands, with the leash training.

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Walking should be a great time for your and your dog to get your exercise and explore the world beyond your home.

Pick which side you want your dog to walk on, left or right. If you begin walking and they are out of position, give a gentle tug on the leash and "stop" command. Reposition where they should be and praise them.

Start walking again with the "go" command and repeat as necessary. By gently tugging on the leash, you do not have to let the dog know you're not happy, you just want them to acknowledge a correction. This is a great distraction breaker that doesn't necessarily need a command, once they connect the tug with a correction. Reinforcing the leash correction with the command for what you want them to do needs to be consistent.

Training your dog to come when called is probably the easiest of the off/on leash tool to aid with distractions. It is something that you can train them to respond to using the "come" command, or their name, or both combined.

Always remember, when you are training your dog to come, that this is a command of trust. If you command your dog to come to you, to be reprimanded, you will lose that trust, and risk your dog not listening to you at all. Remember that dogs can sense and respond to tone. If you get frustrated, don't take it out on your dog, take a break.

One trick that we have learned with our own dogs, comes from when we, as children, were being trained to come when Mom called. Tone was important. And, if they added our middle and/or last name, we knew we were in trouble. Think about those around you that call your name, on a regular basis. Do you know when it's a good tone or a bad tone? Dogs typically respond in the same manner. Just remember to be consistent with what words you use and how you use them.

Practice by calling your dog to you, when they're distracted, using your command for them to come. When they come to you, praise them or give them a treat. If they don't come, give a gentle tug on the leash. when they turn toward you, repeat the command. Practice this off leash, at home, as well to reinforce the "come" command.

Training your puppy to Not Bite needs to start the minute they start mouthing or play biting with you. They need to learn that biting is NOT an acceptable behavior, in any regard. If you do not address this early, it could lead to more aggressive biting.

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When you have young children in the family, they should never play unsupervised with the puppy, as they do not have the strength to ward off the untrained puppy or dog. And, some may find it funny or cute to see the puppy growl, show their teeth or pounce when they grab the dogs toy, nose, tail or when they mimic the dog, while playing, with growls and aggressive behaviors. Eventually, the dog is going to see that biting is the fastest means to ending the fun and is considered an unwanted attention; And, your child could get hurt.

Train your child to be gentle with the dog, teaching them what is and is not appropriate when handling or playing with a puppy or any dog. Learn more about children and dogs on our Introducing dogs to kids page.

Playful puppies and dogs are happy dogs and happy to be a part of a happy pack, which now includes you, and your family. They need to learn what is and is not acceptable behavior, even when they play. So, when they start biting, use a stern tone and tell them "no biting" and walk away. Come back later and involve them in a different activity, like playing fetch.

Repeat this when you are again playing or petting them. If they continue to bite, you can add the addition of tone, with puppies, that they understand all too well, when they were playing with their litter mates; Yelping. Let them know that "no bite" includes that it hurt you, and walk away. Yelp even louder if it continues and walk away, ending the playing. Eventually, the puppy will figure out that biting ends the fun. And, most puppies would rather have fun, than see their playmate wall away in pain.

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In addition to play biting, jumping on you is something that needs to be corrected with training your puppy or dog the "down" or "off" command. You may want to decide which command you need, in case you are also wanting to train your dog to get "off" the furniture or other places they should not be jumping on to.

Here, we are working to train the puppy to not jump on us, that keeping their feet on the floor is where they should be at all times.

NEVER look at your dog or PUSH them off, as these are both forms of attention, which is what they want; as well, pushing your dog can cause an injury to them, and is counter-productive to positive reinforcement of good behavior, in all training methods.

If your puppy or dog jumps on you, simply ignore them, or turn your back, with the command of "down". When their feet (all four of them) are on the ground, turn around and get down to their level and praise them. Basic rule to remember is that your puppy or dog needs to recognize that they will not get food, treats, toys or attention unless all four feet are planted on the ground. Be consistent and patient. And, ensure that EVERYONE in the house is consistent with the command and reaction when your puppy/dog jumps on them.

Use the "off" command in the same manner, when you find your dog getting onto furniture or objects where they are not suppose to be. Never allow your dachshund to jump onto or off of furniture, as this may cause injuries to their back. In this, train your dog that they are only allowed on the furniture when invited, no exceptions

If your dachshund is allowed to be on the furniture or bed, consider building or purchasing a ramp for them to climb onto and off. Teaching them to use a non-jumping ramp will go a long way in protecting them from future injuries to their back.

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The "Leave it" command can be a very useful tool in training your dog to ignore objects that you don't want them to have, touch or eat.

Dachshunds are a tenacious and curious breed and love to play. They also love to investigate things they're not suppose to. Sometimes they'll do it, just to get your attention, as well.

Here, we want you to work with your dog to learn that "leave it" means that whatever they're going after is off limits. This works in conjunction with other command training, as your goal is to train them to focus and learn what is and is not acceptable behavior.

You can practice this command by placing an object that your dog wants, like their favorite toy, on the floor. Using your leash to give them a gentle tug and the "leave it" command, to lead them away from it. Repeat this until you are able to walk your dog by the object without their making a move to get it. Praise and reward them when they get it right.

In addition, you want to let the dog know when it's okay to get the object by using the "okay" command, letting them know it's okay. This will work on walks or in the yard, when your dog approaches something you don't want them to have or eat, until you have identified it as something that is okay for them to have.

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With poop-eaters, not only do you need to be consistent with training your dog to "leave it," you must also be consistent about cleaning it up. Many common parasites live in and on poop. Whether your dog eats their own, or they eat others, it is a nasty habit; one that can also lead to major health issues, to include parvo, giardia and even dental disease, if you are not consistent in their training, and diligent in cleaning it up.

If you cannot clean it up right away, invest in flags that you can place near the pile(s), so that when you do have the time, you know right where to go, to clean it up. Use the flags as an active part of your "leave it" command training, when they approach one. They are NOT, however, a replacement for your taking the time to do your part.

Think about where that mouth has been when your favorite little poop-eater decides to give you kisses. Some of those parasites can make you sick, too. In general, it's a good idea to NOT let your puppy or dog lick you on the mouth, for all the reasons we don't want them to eat poop.

Even though our dog is very much a part of the family, which is a good thing; they are still dogs, and need to be taught commands that restrict their activities, to include licking or kissing. Some affections shared between humans are not a good thing with our pets.

Remember, unless your puppy has just had a treat, water or a meal, you need to ask yourself, as they approach, licking their lips, just what it is that tasted so good.

AND, when dealing with poop or dogs that eat poop, wear gloves when cleaning it up, and wash your hands, face or whatever got licked by your dog, and especially any part of you that came in contact with the poop.

Bottom line: Your dog needs boundaries, and you need to actively commit to not only setting those boundaries, but training your dog, as soon as they become a part of your family, what the acceptable boundaries are. It takes time, patience, consistency and understanding to be successful with command training.

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