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Basic Dog Training: 7 Basic Dog Commands

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

Have you ever found yourself asking: “How does your dog sit when you tell him to and mine doesn’t?”, “How can your dog heel to you like that?”,  “Wow! He comes when you tell him to”  – Sounds familiar? If it does, you need to invest some time into a little bit of basic dog training. Starting to train your dog from a young age is crucial as the first few months of his life is when you will have the greatest influence on him; this is where he is shaped into the dog he is going to be when he is all grown up.

The most basic of dog training is to get your dog to sit and come.

Teaching him those commands are essential for him to learn. These commands are used for various reasons, if you compete, if your dog jumps making him sit will immediately get him off, and “come” is the all-important one. If you take your dog for a walk, you let him off the leash and you expect him to come back to you, not run around the park with you chasing after him shouting at him to “get here right this instance”. That would be just downright embarrassing!

To teach your dog how to come requires only the most basic of techniques but a lot of repetition.

The simplest way to get him to come is having a toy in one hand and a treat in the other, when you are in the house simply walk away from him, hold out the toy and excitingly call him to you, when he comes over to give him a treat, always use the command for coming that you are going to use in the future. Doing this several times a day is a great way to teach him, but remember to have lots of long breaks so he doesn’t get bored and stop enjoying it, and don’t forget the treats!

Getting him to sit could be a slight bit harder but again only requires basic dog training. When you have mastered the come command call him to you, place your hand on the end of his back and say “sit” while gently pushing down on his backside, when he sits his bottom down give him a treat and a lot of praise. If you want him to sit longer just delay giving him the treat and the praise, get him to sit but take your time bending down to him and feeding him his titbit.

7 Basic Dog Training Commands

Sit

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

Sitting is usually the first command to be introduced to a dog or puppy. To do this: hold a reward treat and kneel in front of your dog. Put the treat on your pet’s nose. Lift your hand upward and tell your dog to sit. If your dog lifted its head to bite the treat, use your other hand to guide his backside down into a sitting position. As it sits down, say “sit.” When your pet follows your instruction, praise him by saying “good boy” or “good girl”. Repeat this command several times daily.

Down

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

Another practical command is down or lay down. This is great for all dogs, but especially for large dogs, but it’s a little difficult one to learn for dogs. When your dog learns to be comfortable in a down position, you can take him or her to the park or a sidewalk café. A dog that is relaxed in public is a non-threat to other people and pets and allows you the freedom to enjoy a good book or catch up with friends. It also helps anxious or scared dogs to relax.

To do this, get a mouth-watering treat and hold it in your closed hand. Place your hand up to your dog’s nose. Allow it to sniff the treat. When it smells the treat, move your hand to the floor, allowing your pet to follow it. After your dog is in the position, say “down”. Give your dog the treat, praise it, and repeat the training daily.

If your pet gets up, say “No,” and take your hand away. Never push your dog into the down position. Eventually, your dog will figure out the command, just be patient.

Stay

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

This command will teach your dog self-control. You could pair it with sit and down. You are likely to cover sit- and down-stays up to a few minutes in a puppy training class, but your dog can learn to stay for up to a half-hour or more with practice.

The “stay” command comes in handy when you need your dog to stay put while you go to answer the door or sit down to wrap holiday gifts.

To do this you should command your dog to sit or down first. Open your palm and put it in front of you. Say, “stay”. Step backward. If your dog stays put, give him the reward and praise. Increase the distance each time you do the exercise. Always reward your dog even if he only stays for a short time.

Come

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

This command is very essential because it can save your dog’s life someday. It is unavoidable that even with diligence, your dog will one day escape through the front door or side gate or slip out of its leash. Sometimes their curiosity draws them toward life-threatening situations, like oncoming traffic. When your dog is charging obliviously toward danger, you want them to respond to your voice above all else.

To do this command, start indoors at shorter distances like 10 to 15 feet. Make eye contact with your dog and say “come” in a cheerful voice. You can say your dog’s name but always follow their name with “come”. Try patting your legs or clapping your hands to encourage them. Continue saying the command until your dog comes to you. As soon as they get to you, give your dog a tasty treat.

Repeat the command at longer distances. Try into another room. Repetition is the key.

Try to also do this command when they are distracted, for example when they are playing with their toy. Be sure to reward them when they come to you.

Once your dog mastered this command indoor, try to do it outside. Try first in your backyard, then to the park, with increasing distance and distractions.

Off

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

Off command is stopping your dog from jumping on people or climbing on furniture. This command is to calm your dogs on greetings and keep all four feet on the ground.

To do this, when the dog’s on your furniture or his paws are on counter or table, say “off” and use a treat in front of his nose to lure him off the table or furniture. As soon as all those feet back on the ground, give him the treat.

As soon as he gets off of the item when you say “off,” click (if you are using a clicker) and give him his treat. Once he is reliably getting off when you cue him, you can start fading the click and treat part by starting to praise him or giving him treats randomly.

Don’t Touch/Leave it

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

Curious dogs will find enticing objects wherever they go. This command can help a dog stay safe if it becomes curious about a dangerous object that’s not meant for them.

To do this, put a treat in both of your hands. Show your dog one closed fist with the treat inside. If the dog will try to get the treat, say “leave it”. Once it stops, give your pet the treat from the other hand. Next time, wait for your dog to move away from your first fist. Say, “leave it.” Only give your dog the treat when it moves away. Make sure it makes eye contact with you.

A more advanced training for this is like this. Use two treats again, but now the other should be low-value than the other one. Place the lower value treat on the floor, covering it with one hand. Tell your pet to, “leave it.”

When your dog ignores the treat and looks at you, remove the treat from the floor and give his favorite treat. Praise him for obeying.

Heel or Controlled Walking

How to Basic Train Your Dog?

It is hard when your dog pulls you down the street, especially if it’s a big dog. Even the most enthusiastic dog should learn to pace himself to your speed in walking or jogging. There are many different training strategies you can use to teach your dog to walk by your side, and to stop and sit when you stop moving.

Clicker training has proven to be one of the most effective ways to do it.

You should also prepare some quality treats on hand. The reinforcement makes all the difference. First, get a clicker for your right hand and a handful of training treats in your left hand. Start your heel training in a non-distracting familiar environment, like your home, basement, or a fenced-in backyard.

Position your dog on your left-hand side. Have them sit and stay then quickly reward them with a click and a treat. Have your dog sit calmly next to you until you are ready to walk. Make sure you wait to start until they are calmly following your first more simple commands before beginning your more advanced heel training. Make sure they are fully focused on you. Clickers are used to show your dog they have successfully followed your command and to keep their focus solely on you.

Keep the handful of small, soft training treats in your left hand. Start to walk slowly forward; say “heel”. Expect your pet to walk slowly beside you. The idea is to hold the treats out within an inch of your dog’s face to guide him or her along, and every step or two rewards with a click from the clicker and a treat. If you combine this with verbal praise it is most effective. If your dog starts to veer off, pull ahead, or focus on anything other than you, you should stop immediately, call your dog’s name, ask them to sit, stay and then start again only once your pup is in the correct position and focused on you.

Always remember that consistency is the key. Be patient as well and happy training!

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John David Dabu
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