First Steps To Dog Obedience Training
If your dog has never had any obedience training, then it is likely that they will be difficult to control and this will be very tiring for you. You will want your dog to obey some basic commands and form a greater bond with you.
It is possible to teach older dogs basic commands, but this will take more time and patience. If your dog is still a puppy, then it will be easier, but bear in mind that puppies have pretty limited attention spans.
With this in mind, it is better to go for short sessions more often than long training sessions. You can make the training sessions longer as your dog gets used to them. Be sure to remove any distractions that will hamper your dog training sessions.
There are many different dog training methods that you can use. Before you embark on any training, be sure to read this great article to prepare yourself for dog training. There is the mirror training method which can deliver good results. You can even use online dog training programs to teach your dog to do the right things.
We will start with the most basic of commands:
Teaching Your Dog To Sit
Teaching your dog how to sit is one of the easiest things that you can do, and it is easy on your dog as well. You will want your dog to sit when they are commanded to do this for a number of reasons. Dogs can get over excited in different situations, and if they are commanded to sit then this will make them calmer, and prevent them from doing crazy stuff like jumping all over visitors etc.
- The first step is to be at the same level as your dog by either sitting on the floor or using a chair to do this.
- Have a treat in your hand and place this close to your dog’s nose.
- Move your hand upwards and your dog will follow the treat.
- Your dog will move their head upwards and this will result in their butt being lowered.
- Once your dog’s butt touches the floor let him eat the treat and give immediate praise to him.
- Do this over and over each day and add the command “sit” to the process so the dog begins to form a pattern of behavior.
You will want to avoid holding the treat so high that your dog will attempt to jump up to get it. You just need to hold it high enough so that your dog stretches his neck. Each time his butt touches the floor you can say “good boy sit” or something similar. All of your family members can get involved in this training.
Be careful not to overdo this as your dog will get tired. It is better to repeat the training several times a day in short sessions. Use different situations to use the sit command. Before you give him his bowl of food, tell him to sit. You can also do this before you open the front door. If your dog does not sit then run the pattern again. Reinforcement is very important.
Teach Your Dog To Get Down
This is a tougher skill for your dog to learn than sit, and you will have to be patient and persevere with this. Don’t try to be punitive with this command. As usual you will be using treats, and giving praise to your dog when he does it right.
- Grab a treat and hold it in your closed hand. Place your hand near to your dog’s nose so that he can smell it.
- Once he knows there is a treat in your hand, move your hand down in the direction of the floor. He will want that treat so he will follow your hand.
- As your dog follows your hand, place your hand along the floor directly in front of your dog. His body will naturally follow and he should stretch out into the down position. At this point give him the treat.
- Do this over and over and include the command “down” when he does this.
Be aware that your dog may make a lunge towards your hand. If this happens just tell him “no” and move your hand away. Be prepared to start again if your dog gets up. Once your dog has successfully assumed the down position, praise him and play with him. You can put him in his playpen to play. If your dog does not have a playpen, then check out our review of the best playpens.
Teach Your Dog To Come To You
This command will make your dog come to you when you call. If your dog is misbehaving then the “come” command can be really useful. It can also be a life saver if your dog runs off into a dangerous environment. Like the “down” command it will take time and patience.
- The first step is to connect a light line to your dog’s collar. Let him drag this around a bit to get used to it.
- Go out into the yard, and once your dog is happy with the line, pick up the end and hold on to it as you track him around your yard. After a while your dog will realize that the two of you are connected together.
- Come up with a marker word that your dog will know such as “yes”. Have some treats to hand as well. Now start to walk backwards and encourage your dog to follow you. On the occasions that he comes toward you tell him “yes” and give him a treat. Praise him for his behavior too.
- After a while of repeating this pattern introduce the word “come”. Continue to use treats and praise when your dog comes to you. Try to make this like a game with your dog.
Only use the command once with your dog, and resist the temptation to continuously shout the word if your dog does not come to you. If he fails to come then go over to him and guide him gently to where you want him to be.
Teach Your Dog To Stay
This is one of the toughest commands for your dog. Your dog will naturally want to be by your side, and you will be asking him to stay where he is while you go elsewhere. Make sure that you persevere with this as it is a very good obedience skill.
- You will be teaching your dog to stay where he is until he hears another command from you.
- Have your dog sit comfortably next to you wearing his leash.
- Using a flat palm, wave toward his head and tell him to “stay”
- Now move in front of your dog and wait for 5-10 seconds or so and then go back by his side.
- Give him a treat if he stays in the same position.
- If he doesn’t stay then tell him “no” in a calm manner. Take him back to the original starting position and start the process again.
- Repeat this activity and change the locations of the starting point.
- If he stays then provide a treat and praise. You need to introduce a word that he will understand to mean it is OK to move. You could just use “OK”. Again praise and treat when he succeeds with the “stay” and move actions.
All of these obedience commands should be taught using positive reinforcement. There is absolutely no need for punitive measures. Avoid shouting and getting angry if your dog fails to respond to a command.