The dog must be subject fully to his master’s control; unless a quick and willing response follows the master’s command, there is failure in teaching. The dog is not a free agent as is man. Therefore, obedience and its inevitable necessity must become almost cause and effect in the dog’s mind.
Were I to say that obedience is ninety percent of training of the dog, I think I should not exaggerate. The various acts of training are flowers of the plant which is obedience. They can not bloom without the plant which bears them. There can not be a trained dog that is not a quick and willing slave to obedience.
This response must not be slow, must not be uncertain, must not be given grudgingly. The well trained dog delights to obey commands. He considers his master’s authority supreme not only over him but over all other men.
The obedient dog catches the slightest command of the master. He stops or starts instantly upon command. He fears the stern voice, the upraised hand, the reprimand of his master. If he is barking, a command stops him instantly; if he is running across the street, a loud command stops him in his tracks.
The mere voice of his master can shame him so that he grovels on his stomach for pardon. He loves his master; he wants always to be near his master. He will come to his master tho he knows that punishment ‘awaits him: he loves his master and his master loves him.
If you are not your dog’s god, if you do not have his full confidence, if he is not a one-man dog and you the one man, you can not succeed in training him.
Keep your dog always attached to you. A new master, a new god may win him by kindness and then his sense of obedience to the other master weakens.
To obtain the perfect obedience from a dog it is well to begin in his puppy days, as early as the age of three months. Then he has little memory but soon can learn the difference between pleasing and displeasing his master. After the age of six months, disobedience should not be overlooked. Training such as for police work should not begin before the age of ten months. Training for hunting and field work can hardly be begun profitably before the age of ten months, and actual training in the field, fifteen months.