How do I train my dog?

Dog Training

There are basic commands which I’ll outline here that your dog should learn. These basics will keep your dog safe and well-mannered.

HEEL – By now your dog should be used to its leash. Teaching your dog to heel mans that it walks beside you. Here are two ways to train your dog to heel. First, prepare some treats for your dog. Place your dog on a short leash by your side, keeping a treat in your hand. Begin by saying “heel” and start walking. When the dog responds by walking at your side, give it a treat. Continue in this manner, rewarding your dog with a treat interspersed with kind words such as “good dog.” Another way would be to allow your dog to explore on a long leash. Call your dog to stand at your side, say “heel” and start walking. If your dog pulls and begins to explore again, turn in the opposite direction. Your dog will soon realize, when there is no more play on the leash, that it must come to your side. Repeat the exercise and when the dog responds well, lavishly praise it and reward with a treat.

SIT – This is an easy one. Place a treat in your hand near your dog’s nose, gradually moving it over the dog’s head until it has no choice but to sit. When it’s about to sit say the word “sit” and give the dog the treat as soon as it does. After several repeats your dog will learn to sit on command.

STAY – Walk your dog using the heel command. Then tell your dog to sit. Stand in front of the dog, hold the leash taut, and say “stay” holding your hand palm facing the dog to reinforce the stay. Walk around the the dog repeating the stay command if it moves out of position. When your dog understands the command, try it with a loose leash, then later, off leash (always in a safe area). You can use treats and verbal praise for the dog’s obedience. See more: Teaching Your Dog the Stay Command

COME – You will need a very long leash for this command. Put your dog in a sit-stay. Tell your dog to “wait.” Walk a short distance away from the dog. Stand facing the dog and call its name using the word “come” with it. You might need to give a slight tug on the leash. When your dog comes, have it sit in front of you and praise it profusely. You can offer a treat as well. See more: Teaching Your Dog to Come on Command

DOWN – Begin with your dog in the sit position. Hold a treat in front of the dog, gradually lowering it to the ground and give the command “down.” When the dog responds, give it the treat and lots of praise.

WAIT – This command teaches your dog not to dash out when the door is opened and when someone comes to your door. Have your dog sit near the door. Give the command to wait with your open palm facing the dog. Open the door for a moment. If your dog obeys, give him a treat and much praise. Repeating the exercise, increase the amount of time the door is open until he understands he must not run out.

OFF – This command teaches your dog not to jump up. Next time your dog jumps up, tell your dog “off” and treat it when it obeys. When people come to the door tell them to only give your dog attention when it is not jumping up.

Don’t expect your dog to learn these commands immediately. Teach your dog one command at a time and don’t go to the next one until it has mastered this command. Once your dog has mastered the basics, you can dispense with the treats if you like and just continue to praise. If you wish, you can go on to agility training, tricks, training as a service or therapy dog, etc. The choice is yours.

You will need patience, consistency and a kind hand. Your reward will be a well-mannered, loving dog.

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