San Francisco, or any major city for that matter, is a hectic environment for humans and for dogs (both adults and puppies). There are lot of people and dogs in a very compact area, and at the end of the day, you need your dog’s focus to be on you so that you are able to control the situation and keep everyone safe. Our Camper Cadet Program is our basic obedience training program using only positive reinforcement that teaches your dog to good urban manners, so that you and your pooch can have the freedom to go to more places together with less stress. It covers 5 behaviors over 5 days: sit, down, name recognition, leave it, and loose leash walking. As an added benefit, well behaved dogs are extra cute!
Day 1: Sit
Sitting is the starting point for all other commands. It gets your dog’s focus on you and let’s them know it’s training time. It is the easiest to train because it is a behavior that they do naturally. A lure technique that we use to get your dog to sit is to put a treat in front of their nose and move it behind their ears – this motion naturally causes them to sit. Once we’ve got your pup to master ‘sit,’ we progress to teaching ‘down’.
Day 2: Down
The ‘down’ command is a good way to calm your dog when they are getting over anxious or over excited about a situation. Since there is always an excess of stimulation and excitement in San Francisco, this is a good technique to calm your pup down when something grabs their attention or if a sweet little kid wants to pet your pup. A good lure technique in training your dog ‘down’ is to place a treat between their paws.
Day 3: Name Recognition
Name recognition is very important in getting your dog to focus on you when their name is called instead of what you don’t want them to be getting into. The lure technique we use is to hold a treat by your eye. Your dog is only rewarded a treat when they look you in the eye, that way they learn that calling their name means to look at you.
Day 4: Leave It
The streets of San Francisco are filled with things that your pup probably shouldn’t put in their mouth. We want to teach them that when they ‘leave it,’ they will get a better reward that you have deemed acceptable. Naturally, your dog will want the treat. How we train your pup to leave it is by slowly increasing the time from when we tell them to ‘leave it’ to when they get the treat.
Day 5: Loose Leash
You should be the one walking your dog, not the other way around. The goal is to get your pup to stand next to you, walk besides you, and the leash has some slack to it. The way we train them is to keep a treat by our side. That way, your dog is trained to focus on the high value treat instead of whatever it is they want to get into on the street.
We know that dogs will be dogs and you wanted a dog and not a robot for a pet, so don’t fret if after 5 days your dog isn’t perfect on each and every one of these skills or you need a refresher class now and again. But remember, no matter how well your dog does at Camper Cadets, there is nothing like practice to keep you and your dog at the head of the class.