How to Train a Local Dog
This article is not only centered on how to train a local dog in Nigeria. – it is also essential for every other dog owner out there looking for ways they can train their dogs themselves without breaking the bank or paying a dog handler.
Just like in every other dog, Training is essential.
To get the best from your dog(s), you must train them.
Lack of training can give way for some stupid behaviors in dogs.- more especially the Ekuke, Nkita, or Nigerian shepherd dog breed.
A lot of people say the Ekuke breed is known for the habit of eating feces.
The truth is this; every dog can eat feces. It is only that their owners have only stopped or reduced the tendency to do so.
How do you reduce the tendency of a dog to eat people’s feces? The answer is simple, Training!!
In training a Nigerian dog shepherd, there are certain commands that are very important in the training of an Ekuke dog breed, otherwise known as the Nigerian dog breed.
The essential Commands include the following;
- Drop/Leave it
How to Train a Local Dog On The Above Commands.
1. COMMAND ONE: -Come
Come:-One of the best technique I use in getting a puppy to come when called upon is to tie a leash around his neck and drag it lightly with the word “come.” What impression is this creating? A signal that the word “come” calls for action which ought not to be ignored. This is the easiest method by which one can get his dog to obey the command “come.” A lot of my students have attested to this fact. It is effortless to practice not difficult at all. One has to go with what works for him. This technique works. It works perfectly well with puppies.
2. COMMAND TWO: -Sit
Sit: – To get your dog to obey this command there are two ways, the first way is this; you must make sure you have a treat or a portion of food at hand when he comes you raise it above his nose and say the word “sit” sometimes they tend to take that position. What you do is this; as soon as you see them about to take that position you say “sit” they begin to understand what that word means.
Another way which has been working perfectly fine for me over the years is holding his waist and gently pushing it down to the ground (in a sitting position) and say “sit’. They usually master this in less than 3-4days of practice.
3. COMMAND THREE: – Lay/Down:
Lay/Down: -This trick can be tactical. To make him obey this, you must have a treat at hand. Let your dog smell and sniff it when he does and knows that it is something useful he will be eager to have it. Move your hand to the floor. This will make him focus downward. Now move your hand side by side on the ground in front of him to encourage him today to follow his head once he gets into the down position say the “Down” command and give him treat. Repeat it every day. Some handlers usually make use of the click method. Using the click method; the click sound is made, the puppy is watched until he lays down, and a treat is being given to him as a reward. In doing this, make sure that you are in a squatting position. As soon as he does it more often, the word is then introduced. Obedience to this command results in the puppy having a treat from you.
4. COMMAND FOUR: – Stand:
This goes in line with the Lay/Down command. Here, the dog is made to stand up on his feet to be rewarded. As soon as you’ve gotten him into the sitting position, you can now rise up with another treat in your hand. As soon as the puppy responds to this command, the gift(treat) should be given to him. Note this. Standing may seem ordinary or natural to your puppy, but with time, it will get used to the command and will flow with ease.
5. COMMAND FIVE: -Drop/Leave it:
One method that has helped me in getting my puppies to get used to this command is through the use of a leash. I get them on a leash and then present a treat to them. As soon as they go after it, I use the word Leave it. In doing this, make sure you add her name to it (e.g., hey Sheila, leave it). As soon as I say that, I pull the leash back, restricting him from getting close to the treat.
6. COMMAND SIX: -Heel:
In getting my puppy to heel on control, I usually tie the leash to my belt. And walk him. Now, whenever I notice a pull or see him trying to walk faster than I move, I say the word heel and automatically stop. And won’t continue until he comes back to the point where I stand. Now, this sends a message to the puppy, telling him that he should not be in haste when walking with his master.
Most dog handlers say it is virtually pointless to try to get him to walk sensibly to heel at the start of a walk where you are now – it will take you forever to get anywhere and you will both end up more frustrated.
You need to set yourself and your dog up to succeed as much as possible, not fail. Start after the first 10/15 minutes or after you have gotten where you are going, and slowly decrease the time it is until you start.
Separate practice walks after the main walk when he has used up more of his energy and excitement; it will help with his getting used to what he is supposed to do.
Never walk in the direction your puppy wants you to or is pulling you to. This will make him want to do it over and over again. You lead, and he follows.
Some of you may not have a large yard, in that case, you can also work in the house with your puppies and increase difficulty/distraction by putting some things on the floor (like toys, worn shirts, treats, etc.), or using small obstacles (like a broomstick). I have done heel/position exercises like that with our cats (don’t judge, lol!).
Keep outdoor leash training playful and fun. Try out different positions (ahead of you, behind you, left, right, changing from one side to the other via front/back, etc.) to make it more interactive and exciting. Always doing the same can be tedious. But make sure to take small steps in the beginning. And I always reward eye contact in the beginning (any quick look, not the staring at me type). It is much easier to work with a dog if they keep their focus with you.
Most people usually do not use commands for loose leash walking, and they take their puppies through a more behavioral approach; that is, teach their dogs to learn that with no control needed, having a leash on means you do not pull.
7. COMMAND SEVEN -Catch:
Most dogs flow with this command smoothly when their attention has been gotten. When the concentration is acquired, then the next move is to get him ready for action. How do we do that? Get a handful of treats. Give some to him so that, he knows what you have in your hand. You can also, cover your hand and make your dog smells it and sees what you have in your hand.
8. COMMAND SEVEN– Stop: -This command is very vital in raising a perfect dog. This helps to control the dog whenever it does anything you do not like. To get your dog to obey this, let us say your dog was barking, and you want him to stop crying(barking). What do you do? Wait till he is done barking when he does stop, wait a bit then praise him and then give a treat.
I recommend fusing the “sit” and “down” commands with an implicit stay i.e., when you say “sit,” the dog must sit and remain sitting until you give a release command. Same for “down.” So, add a release command to the list, e.g., “Okay/free.” Also, during training, teach the dog the meaning of informational “yes” and “no.” Make sure not to sound angry/annoyed when using the informational “no,” say it in a friendly tone of voice. This will teach your pup that, in that context, the “no” is not a punishment but mere guidance meaning “what you are trying is not correct”. “yes/good” means “what you are doing is correct” and you can pair it with a reward or let your voice be reward enough, depending on the pups’ motivation. Then I would add the word “no!” in the context of punishment, does not have to be shouted, just in a firm, low tone, growly voice.
How old of a puppy are we talking? Getting puppies to obey commands is what most focus on least with puppies. It’s more important they learn the broader lessons like being touched and handled all over is pleasant, how they can protect their territory and guard it against strangers and intruders, how to let them know that a crate is a comfortable place for them to stay, that people can look and sound different, but they don’t need to be worried about, and that their person is exciting and a super source fun. These are some of the very vital things one also has to inculcate in their puppies.
As a working dog, “Shih” obedience is my fall back command. That is what I grew up with and will always be my guideline.
Honestly, I am more motivated by having a well-balanced dog than any particular behavior. Behaviors can be taught to an unbalanced dog, and a balanced dog can know no commands. I first want my dog to learn to be calm and non-reactive in all situations. Everything I work with at the beginning is to promote peace and looking to me as a leader, which in turn helps build a calm dog.
Marker words: you should also get your dogs to get familiar with these words as they will be of immense advantage as they grow up. They include; Yes, No, Ready, Good, etc. Also just getting used to being handled/crate trained.