What Do You Teach First?

 

“Hello CGC, I just rescued a new dog and I am going to train him myself. I don’t know where to start. What should I teach him first?”

 

CGC Answer:  As soon as I heard, “I don’t know where to start,” I asked the proud new owner if she would consider taking a CGC class. I talked about the benefits of socializing a dog and how she could make faster progress with an experienced instructor showing her how to teach skills. We found her an evaluator, she is in a class now and she’s written to say how well her dog is doing.

But, she brought up an interesting question.  WHAT WOULD YOU TEACH A DOG FIRST?

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About Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen Director, Author of the AKC's official CGC book, "CITIZEN CANINE"
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14 Responses to What Do You Teach First?

  1. Melissa says:

    I would like to get my dog in CGC training also but have had a hard time finding a local trainer. Can you provide me with any info on good local trainers. I live in Kernersville, NC. Which is in Forsyth County.

  2. Tiffany says:

    To the above question, AKC keeps a list of all CGC instructors on its website. You can search by state.

    As far as what to teach first…I have noticed that a number of rescues do not even know their name. So I would start there.

  3. Kat says:

    the first thing I taught my dog was her name. no she turns and looks at anyone who says it. this was followed shortly by “leave it”, “drop it”, and “sit”

  4. Jennifer says:

    First, the name game. They need to know who they are. Then the sit/stay combo is crucial. My dog seems to have trouble with the “stay” part in outdoor environments. We work on it all the time.

  5. Jen says:

    To cue, Elka learned “sit” first. She would sit all the time to watch what we were doing (or in preparation to scratch her ears) and we named that one pronto! I’m not sure when she learned her name, but she definitely knows it!

    We didn’t give recall a high enough priority, though. I’d say name/recall would be a good recommendation.

  6. The first thing for any dog to learn is their name and what the bridging stimulous means, wether it’s verbal or a clicker. Then attention, without you it’s impossible to teach anything.

  7. the Name, tied to ‘Watch me’ – so that when the name is spoken, the dog looks at the speaker [hopefully for further instruction - or just a simple 'GOOD DOG']. Then ‘come’ or ‘here’ — personally, I use ‘here’ more than ‘Come’ — many new owners need to learn the disemillation between ”SIT DOWN’ — a feat dogs cannot accomplish, and SIT vs DOWN; and ‘COME HERE’ — choose one or the other and stick with it.

  8. Edie Elting says:

    First stheir name as a cue for attention. Then sit, which is not just a deep knee bend. :-) In other words, sit and stay sitting until released. Stay should be implied.

  9. Peter Gobel says:

    “Be the bell”! Old style Pavlovian conditioning is key with a new dog regardless of the dog’s age. I start all my clients off with Hand Feeding. I recommend continuing hand feeding until the dog begins to show excitement at your mere presence, because you represent food. Now that you are important to your dog training is much easier.

  10. Michele says:

    Frist I have a human only orientation class, this is very helpful and makes everyone excited to start. In our first class I start off hand feeding, I tell them why it’s important and the benefits. I then add the name game, watch me, target and sit. Then we put these cues to work with fun games. Focus first. “Cheers”

  11. Lynn Messer says:

    When I used to raise puppies, I taught new owners to teach their puppy their name and use their name in every training exercise. With pups before they went home I began training them to “no bite”, I taught them how to sit with a very small treat by pushing the treat toward them and down by lowering the treat to the floor. Many pups learned to follow momma out the doggie door and began housebreaking themselves.

    For an adult dog I teach students to use treats, praise and a snap of the lead for attention training first before beginning formal obedience. It is hard to begin training when a dog doesn’t pay attention to their owner.

  12. Since I do a lot of foster care, I do not teach names in case the new owners would like to change it. I usually teach recall (come), sit, watch me the first week and the next week teach: down, stay, and leave it.

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