>There are many of you out there who have dogs who are extremely obedient,
>and, to me, the most important sign of obedience is a dog who will come
>and stay on command no matter what or where. I really want to have a dog
>like that. Here's my story:

>I'm new at puppy raising and have a 4 1/2-month-old miniature schnauzer
>(got her at exactly 8 weeks). Things are going fairly well for us. She's
>basically housebroken (accidents occur about once a week), fetches the
>newspaper with a little help, sits well on command, and has learned not
>to bite or jump up (most of the time). I have had no success so far
>teaching her to stay or roll over. I give her a lot of love and
>attention, and she is turning out to be an excellent playmate for the
>kids--even naps quietly with them for 3 hours every afternoon. I
>understand that I need to be very consistent and firm, and I believe I'm
>doing so, but I'd love someone to help me out. She does come quickly on
>command indoors, but outdoors is another story.

Your doing just fine. Reliable and consistent stays and comes require that the dog develop an increased attention span and ability to concentrate/focus. This will come with time, IF you continue to teach and mentally challenge your dog through obedience training, play or work. Note: You have yet to enter the adolescent phase of your dog's development. During this phase, she may ignore you at will!! Be patient however. Remember to continually reinforce all obedience commands on a daily basis. Dogs LIKE and NEED (psychologically) to obey.

Check out the book "Good Owners, Great Dogs", by Michael Kilcommons for good advice on basic obedience training and other areas. Also, catch/fetch are good games that in an indirect way reinforce the "come" command (and are fun and release excess energy). If you continue to challenge and work with your dog then she will end up with a continual desire to please you through obedience. This in turn will be reinforced by continual and deserved praise for extended periods. The result: a Superdog that wants nothing more than to please her master and a master that is continually pleased!!. Simple isn't it?

SOAP BOX: So many "dog problems" are really people problems. People generally do not approach their dog's behavior either logically or from the canine perspective. In some cases, Albert Einstein couldn't figure out what some owners ask their dogs to do and learn. In other cases people fail to realize that dogs are PACK and SOCIAL animals. They need in some sense to be dominated or THEY will dominate (in some cases very sweetly in other cases not, depending on the breed and temperament). Being elf alone in isolation is to, particularly a younger dog, existentially terrifying. They lose their bearings and can lose varying degrees of inhibition and control. Dogs need to be part of the family or pack. They can adapt to varying periods of owner absence, etc. But it is the owner's responsibility to ensure their happiness and well being.


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