Imagine taking your best buddy, your dog, on vacation with you. You check into the hotel and make your way to your room. You are getting all settled in when there is knock at the door. You tell your pup to 'stay' and answer the door and speak with the hotel staff member about room service. You close the door again and tell him "OK" and he happily hops up from his bed and comes over to you. The next day you take him out on the town. You tell him to 'heel' as you weave your way through the crowds on the busy street. You toss him a small ball for a while in a fenced-in, dog-friendly area in a hip part of town, then you tell him to 'come' when you decide that it's time to go. You find a local coffee shop, sit outside, and enjoy the view as you sip your espresso. You tell your pup "Down" to keep him out of other people's way and he obediently relaxes into the position and enjoys the view with you. Later that night you return home with your buddy and enjoy snuggles with your pup in your hotel room while you watch an old classic movie on TV.
Training makes it so much easier to truly enjoy your Italian Greyhound. When your pup is well trained you can bring him to more places with you, enjoy him more in daily life, and feel less stressed out or afraid that he will escape, destroy something, or cause a nuisance. Training makes life with your dog better for both of you in almost every area.
The amount of time that it will take to teach your Italian Greyhound a command will depend on which command you are teaching, how often you practice the training, and your pup's individual speed of learning. Generally, you can expect most commands to take around six to twelve weeks for your dog to truly learn. You can often work on more than one command at a time though to speed up the training. You can do this by having 30 to 45-minute training session each day and practicing each new command for about ten to fifteen minutes during each session. The difficulty of the command will also depend on which command you are teaching. Some commands, like 'sit', are very simple and easy, while other commands, like 'handstand', are considerably more difficult.
If you use the 'Create the Behavior' method, then be careful to be gentle when you place your pup into a position or apply any form of pressure in order to encourage her to move into the position on her own. The idea is to gently show your pup what to do, not to roughly force her to do it. Because many Italian Greyhounds are sensitive by nature, also be sure to keep the training fun, positive, and rewarding, especially if you are using this method because it depends less on rewards than the other two methods and it can be more intimidating since it involves touch.
If you are using the 'Lure the Behavior' method, then once your pup will do the command without the lure, be sure to remove the treats from her sight, so that your pup is depending on your communication and not a bribery to do the command. Then after she does the command you can reward her with a treat from your pocket, a treat pouch, or from your hand behind your back.
The 'Capture the Behavior' method works best for teaching your pup to do something that she naturally does on her own but that is hard to physically show her how to do or to lure her into doing. Such behaviors might include: yawning, sneezing, shaking her body, or trying to talk to you. This method can also be used for more common behaviors too, such as: lying down, sitting down, standing up, and going to a bed or a crate.
To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats that your pup loves, something to place them into, such as a small plastic bag in your pocket or a treat pouch, a calm location, and any props or tools that are required to teach the specific command that you are training. You will also need good timing, a positive attitude, and consistency. If you are using the 'Lure the Behavior' method, your dog will need to be very motivated by food. If you are using the 'Capture the Behavior' method, then you will need attentiveness and patience. If you are using the 'Create the Behavior' method, you will need gentleness and your pup will need to be comfortable with being touched and handled.