Dog should know heal, come, stay before hiking |

Dog should know heal, come, stay before hiking

Nadine Lober

Puppy training continues until he is an adult, at which time you may need to reinforce some issues if he slips and disobeys. We all know that dogs are tempted by the slightest things, such as a hot dog left on the kitchen table, a trash bag left on the floor, a nice wooden door to scratch at to get outside, a deer to chase down the endless trail, and so on. As mentioned before, it is imperative to have a dog that listens to voice commands, particularly if he ever is off the leash and needs to be told what not to do or what to do. An important command for a puppy is teaching him to let go of something he just put in his mouth and is about to swallow or chew on. This something is usually the stinkiest, most rotten organic material or wild animal deposits, a bone or even a dead rodent. But whatever this forbidden stuff is, your puppy will most likely get sick from eating it. Therefore the best command to teach a puppy in training is “drop.” An obedient dog will drop whatever he picks up if you give him the “drop” command. The best way to teach him this is to have him playing with his favorite toy or a tennis ball. Give him the command to drop while removing the ball from his mouth and placing it on the floor. Then reward him and give him a treat. Repetition is the key to success and not loosing your patience. Remember that your pet wants to please you and loves the reward.Bring a leashIn this valley, we all love to go hiking with our dogs. This is also a learning process. If your dog is going to be off leash then voice commands are imperative. You don’t want your dog off chasing wild life or running far enough that he will gobble up any wasting organic matter laying around. Dogs can get into a lot of trouble if left unsupervised, especially puppies. Voice commands – such as heal, come and stay – should be learned before letting your dog off the leash. You can start with a short leash, then graduate to a longer one and then no leash. But always carry a leash and if your dog disobeys or takes too long to come, then put the leash back on. Try not to punish your dog if he takes forever before coming to you when called, because next time might take even longer if he knows that he’ll get punished. Taking an adult dog with you that obeys will give a great example to a puppy in training. Puppy stepsA puppy needs to adapt the amount of exercise. A young puppy, with growing bones and joints, can not and should not start out with long hikes or jogs. Start out slow and gradually work up to longer and more intense hikes. A puppy does not know his limits and will go till he drops. Gradually increasing his duration of exercise will give you, in the long run, a healthier and stronger companion. For example, a 4-month-old puppy, even a Lab, can not and should hike a fourteener or go for a 5-mile run. Start with a mellow, hour-long hike or a slow, mile jog and gradually increase the distance over a period of three to six months. A long, steady run is more stressful for a puppy than playing with another dog – unless the older dog clobbers him, of course.Large breed dogs do need exercise and are meant to work out on a regular basis for physical and mental well-being. I guess that it is the same for the human counterpart.Use common sense in training your dog, be very patient and rewarding and remember, he loves you unconditionally. I will mention a few more important aspects in later articles. Dr. Nadine Lober at Vail Valley Vet 949-7972

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