A trained and a balanced dog are 2 different concepts but if your dog knows a few essential commands, it will be helpful when solving problem behaviors, it may be existing ones or those that may develop later on in the future.
Ok, how and where do you begin your dog/puppy obedience training? Some people decide to go in for some type of course or class, but I believe it’s not really necessary, self-education is the key.
This can really be fun for you and your dog and it must be coupled with the right attitude.
The most important ‘Sit’
You can commence with it because it one of the simplest dog commands to teach so I think it’s a great one to start with.
Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.
- Now you move your hand up, letting his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower.
- Once he’s in a sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection or compassion or an act of love.
You have to repeat this sequence daily until your dog has had a mastery of it. Then ask your dog to sit before mealtime, when leaving for walks, and during many other situations where you’d love him to stay calm and seated.
The come command can help keep your dog/puppy out of trouble, making him/her come back to you if you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open.
- Place a leash and collar on your dog.
- Get down to his level and say, “Come,” while gently pulling on the leash.
- As he gets to you, reward him with affection and a treat.
Once he’s mastered it with the leash, remove it — and practice the command in a safe, enclosed area.
I believe the down can be really a difficult command for a dog to execute. Why? It’s because it’s a submissive posture position. I guess you may help by keeping training positive and relaxed, particularly with fearful or anxious dogs.
- Search for a really good treat with an adorable scent, and hold it closed in your fist.
- Bring your hand up to your dog’s snout. When he sniffs it, bring back your hand to the floor, so he can follow.
- Now slide your hand along the ground right in front of him to encourage his body to follow his head.
- Once as he get to the down position, say “Down,” give him the treat, and share more affection.
It should be repeated every day. If your dog tries to sit up or lunges toward your hand, now say “No” and take your hand away. Don’t force him into a down position, and try as much as possible encourage every step your dog takes toward the right position. After all, it’s kind of a hard task for him to figure it out!
The ‘Stay’ Command
Before trying this one out, you have to be sure that your dog has totally mastered the ‘Sit’ commanded that an expert.
- To begin with, ask your dog to “Sit.”
- Next open the palm of your hand in front of you, and say “Stay.”
- Then take a few steps back. Reward him with a treat and show him some affection if he stays.
- Gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving the treat.
- You should always reward your pup for staying put — even if it’s just for a very short while.
Ok, this exercise is to instill self-control in your dog, so you should not be disappointed if it takes your dog a while to master, especially for puppies and high-energy dogs. After all, dogs don’t like being in a static position, they love moving.
This command helps keep your dog safe when his curiosity takes a higher portion of him, like if he smells something intriguing but possibly dangerous in the ground! The goal at this point is to teach your pup that he gets something even better for ignoring the other item. Try to place a reward for him if he ignores it and not chasing him away.
- Hold a treat in your hands.
- Show him one enclosed fist with the treat inside, and say, “Leave it.”
- Let him lick, sniff, mouth, paw, and bark to try to get it — but ignore the behaviors.
- Once he decides to stop trying, give him the treat from the other hand.
- You should repeat this process until your dog moves away from the first fist when you command him with, “Leave it.”
- Next, only give your dog the treat when he obeys by moving away from that first fist and then looks up at you.
Once as your dog moves away consistently from the first treat and gives you eye contact when you say ‘leave it’, I guess you’re ready to take it up a notch. For this, use 2 different treats — one that’s just alright and another one that has an adorable smell and tasty favorite for your pup.
Command him, “Leave it,” put the less attractive treat on the floor, and cover it with your hand.
Then be patient until your dog ignores that treat and looks at you. Remove that treat from the floor, give him the nicer treat and share some affection right away.
Once he’s got it right, place the less attractive treat on the floor… but do not totally cover it with your hand. Instead, hold it a little bit above the treat. Over time, gradually move your hand farther and farther away until your hand is about 6 inches above the floor.
From here I think he’s ready to practice with you standing up! Follow the exact steps, but if he tries to snatch the less tasty treat, you cover it with your foot immediately.
You shouldn’t be in a haste with the process. Remember, the commands are really too much for your dog, you’re are giving him a lot of tasks. If you take it up a notch and he’s still having a lot of difficulties, move back to the previous stage.