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SIT - The dog’s hips are on the ground while their shoulders are upright. The Dog(s) should remain in this position until released. Two to five minute stay. If they break the sit and go into a down or stand up, give correction back into a sit.


DOWN – The dog(s) “lie down” on the ground, elbows touching, until released. No time limit on a down. Give slight downward body motion when asking for the command.


HEEL – Walking on a loose leash on your left side. Dog’s collar should line up with your leg at all times. There is no sniffing the ground, barking at or greeting dogs/people, attention and focus should be on you at all times. Dog should sit when you stop. As you stop, say “sit.”


FREE – This is the word that tells your dog(s) he/she can move from the position he/she has been in. This releases your dog to do what they like.

Here – The dog is to stop what they are doing, ignoring distractions, and go DIRECTLY to the person saying HERE. As the dog is heading towards you, praise them “good boy” or “good girl”. Say “sit” as they approach, reward well! They should stay with you after you recall until you tell them “free” or give them another command.


Place – This is a boundary stay. The dog(s) are to go to place until released. The dog(s) can stand, down or sit. On place the dog is to be calm. No jumping, barking, or getting off the boundary. If they break the command tell them “no” right away and give corrections all the way back to the spot. No time limit for a Place stay. Use place when guests come over to avoid jumping. Practice this during dinner time to avoid table begging.


Crate – The dog(s) is to go to their crate. This is where they sleep and go when you are not home. This is also used to practice calm and to give the dog a sensory break to decompress (like meditation). Dog must wait for the “free” command to exit their kennel. Dog must enter crate when you say “crate.”


Good – A verbal marker to let the dog your dog(s) know his/her actions are correct.

No – A verbal marker to let your dog(s) know that what he/she is doing is NOT what you

want, and they need to stop and do something else.

Yes/Clicker – A verbal marker that serves as a placeholder in time for a dog to know what he just did earned reward. “Yes” is always followed up with food.

A neutral tone, a good treat, patience and willingness to work with your dog will go a long way to increase and better your communication and relationship!

● What is a reward?

A reward is anything that motivates your dog to perform the behaviors we are asking. The reward is like your dogs “paycheck” for working! Rewards come in many different forms such as praise, toys, and food. Every dog is different so it is important to find what motivates them the best.

Types of Rewards:

1. Click the clicker, then feed. When you click, he should run to you. Do not ask/expect him to stay in behavior if you click.

Click PROMISES a food reward. If you click, you MUST feed him.

2. Reward in position. Do not click, simply say “good” or repeat the command, then bring food to him where he’s at.

3. Reward with a toy or affection, not just food! BUT if you click, you must feed him.

● When do I reward my dog?

Now that your dog has gone through a training program you do not have to reward them as often. For the first few days they are home you can reward every time they do the right behavior, after that period you can fade away from treating them so often.

● Who can reward my dog?

Everyone! As long as the dog is performing the behavior correctly, anyone is welcome to reward.

● Where do I reward my dog?

Reward your dog in the direction you want them to be. Dogs go where the treats go, so use that to your advantage. For example, when performing a down stay, reward on the floor between their front paws so they will stay low to the ground rather than reaching up to get the treat out of your hand.

Tip: Instead of feeding your dog out of a food bowl, use their breakfast and dinner to reward 

them for doing a command. This helps maintain good weight and gets them earning their meals.

Reinforcing Pressure

● What is a reinforcement?

When you stim with the ecollar at the same time that you give a verbal command, you are physically reinforcing your command.

It’s akin to giving a little nudge on the back when telling someone to “go” (or like a “good game” pat). This pressure has been conditioned to be motivational during your dog’s stay! You cannot overuse reinforcing pressure—use it often and keep the appetative nature of the ecollar language alive for your dog! This is so important so that we avoid making the ecollar a negative-only tool. Your dog should feel ten times more reinforcing pressure than they do corrective.

To keep reinforcing pressure sharp and clear in your dog’s mind, remind them every once in a while that pressure leads to reward by doing this simple exercise:

stim --> food

Have your dog with you.

Be very neutral. Give no commands. Simply stim your dog at a low level, count to “one Mississippi” slowly, then reach and give them food.

Do this 5-10 times in the exercise. Do the exercise once or twice a week.


● What is a correction?

A correction is pressure applied after a command is spoken and disregarded. Whether your dog didn’t hear/understand, or they are distracted, adding pressure they understand to reinforce your command helps them to make the connection and perform the behavior. A correction communicates to your dog that obedience commands are not optional, and allows you to say “you must” while maintaining a good demeanore and happy attitude in your dog!

On leash: a quick pop and release. It is important not to keep tension on the leash, the “release” aspect of a correction is very important.

On ecollar: a momentary stim at a level that is motivating for your dog.

● How do I give a correction?

When giving a correction you are looking to change the dog’s behavior, for example, if your dog breaks a sit-stay and you give a proper correction to reinforce the command then you have changed the dog’s behavior. If you give a correction and your dog doesn’t change, then you need to adjust your pressure. The correction level is different for every dog so make sure you are doing enough for your individual pet. ● Who should give corrections?

Anyone who works with the dog consistently. It is important that the dog has consistency from everyone in the house and understands you all follow the same rules. Children are the only exception and should not be expected to give corrections.

● When do I give corrections?

As soon as the dog breaks their command. Dogs have 1.6 seconds to make the connection of what they did right or wrong so the sooner you correct them the better they understand what you are asking. This is where ecollars are amazing! Your dog will feel the stim 1/10th of a second after you press the button—and your timeliness will be very accurate. Which is great for clarity of communication.


1. Structure, structure, structure! Follow the puppy schedule religiously. The more you manage his schedule and interactions, the less likely he’ll learn behaviors you don’t like.

2. Use your crate!

3. For the first 2-3 weeks after your dog comes home, have no unsupervised time anywhere. If you cannot supervise and guide him, he must be in a crate.

4. Take him potty on leash/supervised. Use the time out to practice a behavior or three.

5. Use your leash! If he jumps, or paws, or anything... use the leash! If he is out in the house, he can drag a leash so you can respond to his decisions.

1. If your dog is out of his crate, you both have on your “uniforms.” You are wearing your clicker, remote, and treat pouch, and he is wearing his training equipment. For the first couple weeks after go-home, this should include a leash he drags.

2. Prevent pressure sores and necrosis!

Your dog should only wear the ecollar 12-14 hours per day (NOT overnight!). While in the crate for naps/down time during the day, you can take the ecollar off (unless you’re working through crate issues; address these per your trainer’s instructions).

Move the ecollar to a new place on his neck every 4-6 hours.

3. Wet skin is soft skin! Move the collar more often and give more breaks from the collar until skin is fully dry.


● When does my dog wear his collar?

All the time except at night time or if unsupervised outside. They should NOT wear their collars during play time with each other.

Wear as much as possible, even if you do not have time to train, the dog should still be wearing all equipment. Put the collar on every morning and take it off at the very end of the night. The ecollar, the clicker, and your treat pouch are the foundations of your communication and training language with your dog!

● What if my dog is not wearing the collar and they misbehave?

Try not to give any commands if your dog has no equipment on. If we give a command and can’t

follow through then our dog learns they do not have to listen when they have no collar on. ● When can my dog stop wearing the collar?


It takes dogs 3 to 6 months for training to go into their long-term memory, and that is if you are 100% consistent during that time. Once your dog has had this consistency and they are performing the commands 90% of the time without a need for corrections then you can begin fading away from the collar. However, you can never go wrong simply having all your equipment all the time. Dog behavior is not static, and no matter how much training you do, your dog is ultimately a thinking individual that makes choices we can’t always predict! Our equipment keeps us able to respond to any situation that might unexpectedly arise.



Session 1: Structured Walk

Heeling. Be spontaneous and unpredictable in your turns and changes of pace, but do not necessarily make fast turns. Play a game! Keep the dog interested, focused, and happy.

Add in short sit or down stays during the walk.

Occasionally plant “Easter eggs” prior to your walk to use as either distraction or reward.

When you would like your dog to sniff and potty, tell them “free” then allow them the whole length of the leash.

Session 2: Intermittent Phase Training Game

This is your MOST VALUABLE training session you can practice! It also happens to be the most fun!

1. Set out your Place bed. Start at 6-8’ away.

2. Send your dog to Place. Reward. Recall. Reward. (This is the basic skeleton of the game.) 3. Add in Down and Sit (on Place or when they’re with you).

4. Add in Heel.

Session 3: Recall Exercises (choose one or two)

pt. 1: throw food, recall, reward when dog arrives

pt. 2: play “catch” between two people in family (one person recalls and rewards, then “goes neutral” as the other person recalls and rewards)

pt. 3: surprise recall at random time, inside or outside (reward HEAVILY for this one)

** In any interaction or training session, if your dog makes a mistake, repeat that scenario (the moments leading up to the mistake) until your dog succeeds! Then reward and move on. **



Session 4: Static Exercises

Pick a stay command (sit, down, or place).

Concentrate on the 3Ds— Distance, Duration, and Distractions. Pick one or two of the Ds to work on during the session. Get creative! Distraction options are only limited by your imagination. (Hint: Distance can include out-of-sight work. Just be careful about doing too much duration while out of sight.)


Place dog in a command, reward if dog listens first time.

Create or present a distraction from a distance. Reward if dog succeeds.

Slowly close distance with dog over several repetitions, presenting the distraction closer and closer to the dog.

Reward with every success.

Correct and repeat repition (with same criteria) if dog makes a mistake. Repeat until dog succeeds, then reward!


Place dog in a command, reward if dog listens first time.

Move some short distance away. Reward if dog succeeds.

Slowly and incrementally increase distance from dog over several repetitions, but occasionally lowering the criteria to a much much shorter distance to keep up dog’s hope and to remain unpredictable. (We want the dog to never know how far away you’ll go, or how far away you have to go in order for him to receive a reward. Sometimes we want to make it really easy!) Reward with every success.

Correct and repeat repition (with same criteria) if dog makes a mistake. Repeat until dog succeeds, then reward!

*** Side note: Focus on being fair! More pressure can mean more compliance, but it will often result in damaging your relationship with your dog. If you have to correct more than twice, reassess the scenario and lower the criteria to ensure your dog with succeed. ALWAYS give a “freebee” command before using any pressure. Give the dog a chance to avoid pressure altogether and earn rewards! ***




Know, and be able to see in your mind with total clarity, how each interaction, task, and activity with your dog should go.

For example, when you go for a walk, break the whole thing down:

What happens when I’m putting collars/leashes on my dog? How should it go?

Phase 1: Sit. Patient while I fit the gear. Remain seated while I straighten up. No jumping.

Phase 2: Approach the door. Sit at door. Remain seated while door opens. Cross threshold only when told “heel” or “free.” (Do I want to her my dog through the door? Or exit first, then release my dog through the door?)

Phase 3: Heel. Know where all the invisible lines of the heel position are. See them clearly. Dog should maintain position. Dog should turn promptly when I turn. Dog should sit when I stop. No nose on the ground. No marking.


Changes of speed or direction should not surprise the dog. Distractions/competing motivators should not derail the dog. Dog should not relieve himself unless told “free” and given an explicit opportunity to do so.

If you have a clear picture of what should happen, then if (or when) your dog deviates from that vision, you can see it easily and respond. When your dog embodies that vision, you know to reward enthusiastically!

This is maintenance training. Your dog WILL make mistakes. That’s because they are not robots (thank God). And those mistakes provide an opportunity to teach and remind. And your dog WILL succeed, presenting opportunity to reward. The more your dog succeeds, the more established those habits become. When they mess up, they receive clear feedback and remember.

Have a plan. Envision the parts of the whole. Pay attention to detail. And communicate that vision to your dog.

● How often should I train my dog?

The goal is to train for an hour a day in 15-20 minute increments. However, this may not always be achievable, the point is to work with your dog as much as possible and begin to incorporate these commands into your everyday routine.

● What if my dog isn’t listening to me?

If you are having a bad training session and you find yourself frustrated with your dog, find a positive note to end on and then take a break. It is normal to get frustrated when training but our dogs have a hard time understanding why we might be frustrated so it is best to put them away and take a break.

● Can I use a loud or firm tone when telling my dog “No”?

When telling your dog the “no” command you want to be as neutral as possible with your tone

and body language.

● Should I kennel my dog?

Yes! The kennel is the safest place for your dog to be while you are away. Dog are den animals so they enjoy having a nice quiet place to go and rest, think of the kennel as your dog’s own personal room in your home.

● Can my dog get on the furniture?


I do not recommend allowing your dog on the furniture. Our goal in training is to gain our dogs respect and teach them boundaries; if our dogs do not have boundaries then they often lack clarity. Being on the furniture tells a dog they have free roam of the house. For at least a few weeks after training, reduce the freedoms your dog has (be clear and consistent in the rules and boundaries) and strive for clarity in relationship, reliability in your expectations so that your dog can begin to really count on you. Big behavior change occurs in practicing the tiny things that seem insignificant.

Tip: The most important aspect of training is CONSISTENCY. You make the rules, but if you make a rule, don’t allow fluctuation in that rule. Dogs do much better with rules and routine that they are familiar with, that’s why adding structure to a dog’s life works so well to stop those nuisance behaviors. Be consistent and communicate as clear as possible.

You have lifelong phone and email support from your trainer at Dog 4 Life. Feel free to contact us if you are struggling in any way. Now that you have gone through a training program your dog is eligible for structured boarding and tune up training. Come back for a tune up anytime and we can get your pup back on track.

We appreciate your business and loved having your pup in for training, come back and see us again!

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