Many dogs pick up on the idea of training very quickly, and will enjoy the time you spend with them even though they are learning. Unlike children, dogs enjoy learning new things and will sit for hours if you keep their attention. To begin training your dog to sit, you will need patience and a week of training time. You can use the following tricks on training your dog to sit, stay and heel:
Sit on the floor with your dog for the sit training. Call the dog to you, and tell him or her to sit. Many dogs over time have heard the word sit enough, that they somewhat understand what you are asking of them. Ask the dog to sit 3 times, and if he or she does not comply, place one hand on the chest and one hand on the rear haunches. Press down on the rear haunches and up on the chest, and this reinforces the action of sitting down for the dog. Tell the dog to sit once the rear is on the ground, and then give a treat. Complete this 3 times each session. After the third time, ask the dog to sit and do not give a treat, and see if he or she tries to sit on their own. This will let you know how long you wil have to train in order to get the sit command in stone. Remember that when you give the command, not to be overly loud or mean, but firm so the dog understands this is not a request, but that he or she should complete the task given. Ask the dog to sit, and then count how long it takes for the dog to sit. If it takes your dog longer than 30 seconds to sit, you may need to train for another few days. However, if your dog sits immediately, this part of training is complete.
To train your dog to stay, he or she must have already mastered the sit command. Crouch on the floor in front of your dog. Have your dog’s favorite toy or treat available for this activity. Tell the dog to sit, and then place the treat or toy a foot away from the dog and tell him or her to stay. If the dog tries to get up and go after the treat or toy, tell the dog to sit immediately. Slowly inching toward the toy or treat is normal, as dogs seem to think as humans, we will not see them sneaking over to get the prize. Dogs have a great sense of humor and will rub off on you, the longer you spend time with them. Tell the dog to stay, and move the toy or treat further from the dog. Continue to move the toy or treat further away from the dog, until it is all the way across the room. This wil be a huge feat for a dog, and should be rewarded warmly. Give the dog a treat each time you move the toy or treat further from him or her, and he or she stays in place. When you are ready for the dog to have the treat or toy after training, simply say “you can have it”, and allow the dog to go after it. The training is complete when the dog does not go after the toy or treat until you say ok.
Heel is a skill that many dogs have a hard time with, simply due to the fact that it is in their nature to run free and wild when given the chance. Your dog will have had to master the sit and stay commands in order to complete this task. You will need a fenced yard, or a retractable leash for this skill. Take the dog outside on a leash or in a fenced yard, and allow the dog to run and play. Stay in one spot and do not move, and call your dog’s name. If the dog comes to you without any trouble, this skill will be easy for your dog to learn. However, if your dog continues to run, you will have a little more time to invest into this skill. When your dog runs, allow him or her to settle into one area after getting riled up from playing. Call your dog’s name and wait for him or her to come to you. When he or she gets close, say “heel”. Grasp the collar of the dog, and tell him or her to sit. Maintain the sit position, and then tell the dog to stay. Walk a few feet away and tell the dog it is ok for him or her to get up. Allow the dog to run again for a few moments, and then call the dog’s name and say “heel” again. The dog should come close to you, and will more than likely want to play. This is normal, but you should tell the dog to sit and stay. Allow time for the commands to be obeyed, and then move away from the dog again.
Repeat this at least 3 times during your training period daily, and within a week your dog should be able to heel. The command heel simply means for a dog to drop what they are doing and come sit and stay by your side. This is the reason that the sit and stay commands must be mastered before heel can be completed. This can take some time to get for some dogs, as sit and stay can be confusing when you add heel into the command. If your dog takes him or her longer follow the command, it is best to give your dog more time for the training.