Jeremy Moore is a very busy guy, like most. Yet Jeremy is always training his seven dogs with short opportunities, not long, laborious sessions. And yes, he’s a professional dog trainer with an entire business built around making hunting dogs their very best at Dog Bone Hunter. Today, Jeremy shares 10 basic tips to help young dogs be the best they can be—whether they’re hunting dogs or not.
Two months old is not too young to accomplish small, incremental differences in behavior. “I’ll reward just slowing down and being calm in those early months to reinforce getting under control,” shared Jeremy. “Sometimes it might just be a lowered heart rate or standing still, it doesn’t even have to be a ‘sit’ or a ‘stay.’” The first six months are the most critical, but if you wait to begin training after six months, the risk is forming bad habits over two-thirds of their young lives.
Avoid bad habits
Be cognizant of not setting up bad behaviors. “I don’t let my dogs run crazy coming out of the crate,” shared Jeremy. “It’s just a bad behavior that I don’t want to un-teach later on, so I don’t let it start early.” Jeremy works toward steadiness that values calm, quiet, and patience.
Simultaneously teach “sit,” “stay,” and “come”
It’s just how you start. “These three are the early training commands and we work on each simultaneously,” said Jeremy. A well-behaved dog is a better dog—whether it is a hunting dog or family pet. If you do have a hunting dog, these three basic commands (plus “heel” noted below), are the foundation for all other in-the-field training.
Raise their head to lower their behind
It’s not uncommon to use a treat reward for a new behavior with a young dog. Eventually you will move away from food treats and transition to praise with “learned behavior” the final goal. “This is pretty basic, but early on when teaching sit, just raise your hand up with the ‘sit’ command and the dog will look up and almost automatically put her butt down,” shared Jeremy.
“Heel” is the fourth skill
After “sit,” “stay,” and “here” are coming along, add “heel.” Jeremy’s tip for “heel” is to tie the young dog outside on a short, five-foot tie-out before working on leash with “heel.” “The dog will learn to give in to the pressure when she can’t pull the chain out of the ground, so she understands it is best to stay close,” shared Jeremy. “If she’s going to hate, let her hate the stake, not you. The dog won’t associate the tug on her neck with you if she had time in the yard on a five-foot tie-out.”
“No time” is not an excuse
We feed our dogs twice a day, every day. “That gives me an opportunity everyday day to train with meal time, no matter how busy my life is,” continued Jeremy.
Keep it short
Work in one- or two-minute intervals. “It can be overwhelming if we think we have to find ‘training time’ in our busy schedules,” said Jeremy. “Just pull the quick minute or two out throughout the day.”
Basics are important 12 months of the year
“I may hunt with my dogs for two to three months in the spring for shed hunting, and then again in the fall with upland game, waterfowl, and deer recovery. That’s four to six months, tops,” said Jeremy. “But my dogs are in our house, and they are part of our family, for 12 months of the year.” Getting the basics of “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel” are essential to any dog, of any breed, being a part of the family.
Stay calm as you look for short successes
“When working on ‘sit’ or ‘stay,’ I work in really short increments, and I move very slowly, as dogs often key off your movement,” added Jeremy. “Keep a calm demeanor. Dogs pick up on it.”
Get down low to the ground, and whistle as you welcome them back
Work in the yard with a young dog on recall—to either “here” or “come.” “I like to whistle, too,” shared Jeremy. “Just get down and welcome the little dog in. Young dogs always want to be near you, they’re afraid to venture too far away and don’t want to be left alone. That’s when you want to teach recall.”
Jeremy Moore is a phenomenal dog trainer and a serious hunter. His 10 easy tips can help any of us with a dog: young dogs, old dogs, hunting dogs, and even foofoo breeds. A well-behaved dog is a gift to the entire family. All the better when she helps you with shed hunting, retrieving birds, and deer recovery. More on that in my next conversation with Jeremy Moore in 2014.
K.J. Houtman is the author of the award-winning Fish On Kids Books series, chapter books for eight- to 12-year-olds with adventures based around fishing, camping, and hunting. Her work is available at Amazon and local bookstores. Find out more at fishonkidsbooks.com.