Teaching the "Stop" Command

Teaching the "Stop" Command

To properly teach the stop command you must first realize the importance of this essential action. It is probably the most important command you can teach your dog whether he is a sport dog or just your family pet.  The stop command, among many other uses, could save your dogs’ life.  Properly teaching your dog to stop could also determine whether you win or lose in a field trial.  Of course, the main purpose and the most frequently used reason to properly teach this command is because a happy dog is one who works for you, not running around without cause becoming an unmanageable burden. When you give your dog a purpose you have a friend for life, because even though hunting, pointing or retrieving are important tasks, being your companion is what is going to make your dog the best hunting  partner you will ever have. So learning the stop command will, in essence, make all the other commands easier to teach. 

You will need plenty of time and patience to teach the stop command.  It is a command that even your young puppy can learn but, not overnight.  This command is best taught in a quiet yet authoritative and controlled voice. There should be nothing “sweet” about your tone of voice or the command itself, because it may be needed in an emergency and you would never use your sweet baby voice if you want your dog to stop before running into traffic.  

The only tools you really need to teach the stop command are a long lead line or check cord (not too long for smaller dogs), a few treats, a stick or some sort of blocking tool (more on this in a minute) and if you will be using a training collar, you will need to have that handy as well. You need a calm environment where there are no distractions and it is always best to teach each dog individually.  While training, it is better to start in a quiet and focused environment, and ease into hurried or distracting surroundings as they get better with knowing the command.

Proper techniques of teaching "stop" to your dog.

There are several proven methods to teach the stop command but, if you  concentrate on the basics,  after a few attempts you will be able to tell what will work for you and your pup.  To begin with,  just put him on the lead line and walk. After a few steps stop, then ask your dog to stop.  Make sure to just work on stopping, don’t try to work on sitting or anything else, work on one command at a time.  Now is when you use the stick or other object of choice, you simply stick it in front of your dog to block his way.  If using a training collar this would be a good time to insert a vibration correction.  Praise him when he stops, even if you are blocking his way. Even though some dogs are content with verbal praise it is often useful to use a treat early on. Once he stops walking, reward him with the treat or else he learns to come out of the stop position before being told to. After he has stopped you should walk ahead a little, just don’t allow him to walk, if he tries to walk just say, “stop” again and use a verbal reward when he does so.  

If you are consistent and follow the basic rules, just about any dog can learn the essential stop command. The first time your dog stops in front of your buddies, you will be proud and glad you spent the time to teach him.  

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