Dog training basics

Now that you are ready to start training your dog, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of information available and the differences of opinion on the subject of training techniques. But don’t worry — we’ve distilled it down to the basics for you, because that’s all you need to get started.

The fact is – no single dog training technique is perfect for all dogs or all trainers. Training your dog is more than just pronouncing commands and giving rewards. It’s a way for you to start communicating effectively with your dog and to bond in new, better and long-lasting ways.

Dog Obedience Training: Basic Commands

Once you feel that your puppy is old enough to trust you and distinguish simple sounds, it’s best to start training him as soon as possible. Even in the case of older dogs, if there has been no previous training, you’ll want to start with some essentials. The following are five basic commands, listed in the order of their ease of learning:

Sit: This works best as a short period command. When you teach a dog to sit, you are teaching him the act of sitting down, which lasts only a short period. Obedience classes often begin with this command because it’s simple to understand. [Learn How]

Down: “Down” is the first command most owners find themselves using to tell their dog to calm down. Once you begin training, become firm about it and treat it with as much importance as any other command. This is a good instruction to begin teaching impulse control and conveying, in a non-threatening way, that you are in charge. [Learn How]

Stay: Stay is a long-period command that’s especially useful in conjunction with the above two commands. Once you’ve told your dog to sit (or do something else), use this command to let him know that you want him to hold that position. [Learn How]

Come: This is an important command that will greatly increase your dog’s safety. If you teach your dog to come to you on command, you can guide him away from dangerous situations (such as traffic or a steep edge) and give him more freedom as a result. Teaching this command (like “Leave it”) requires consistent and lavish reward, because your objective will be to make the dog give up what he’s doing. [Learn How]

Leave it: This is the hardest of the basic commands of dog obedience, so come to it when you’ve established a training rapport with your dog. It is an especially useful command for a growing puppy, who might be teething and full of energy and curiosity, to stop him from chewing on whatever he finds lying around. [Learn How]

Basic Dog Training Tips

Whether your dog is a little puppy or a full-grown animal and regardless of the specific technique you decide to try, there are certain things you should always keep in mind during obedience training:

Be consistent. Dogs like routines and they like repetition. Consistency is especially important in the early stages of teaching a particular command. Be consistent not only in the dog’s training routine, but also in rewarding good behavior.

Be clear. Long commands or excessively repeated commands will confuse your dog. Short, properly pronounced commands (especially single-syllable words like “Sit” and “Stay”) are much easier for your dog to understand and remember than something like “sitsitsitsit” or “down! down! down!” Even if your dog doesn’t follow your command, wait before reissuing it.

Be firm. This is especially challenging if you are trying to train a young puppy; they’re just so cute! But firmness is absolutely crucial to your success, because any weakness or wishy-washiness on your part will be understood and taken advantage of by the dog.

Be patient. All dogs are different and have different learning needs. Be patient while you find the techniques and routine that work for your dog. Losing patience, yelling at your dog or getting aggressive will not only damage your training routine, but also damage your dog’s enthusiasm and trust.

Most importantly, remember to have fun with your dog and make its training an enjoyable and rewarding experience for you both.

Image supplied by iloveblue, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Dog Training Tips, Featured

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About the author

Proud owner of two Miniature Schnauzers (Archie and Lola), and a Giant Schnauzer (Milo). Favourite Dog Trick: Turn. Enjoys Southern Comfort.

2 Responses to “Dog training basics”

  1. Why You Should Train Your Dog in Several Different Settings | Pet Pupz says:

    […] reward him for the right actions, you are modifying his environment to reinforce good behaviour. Positive training relies only on reward, without using punishment or threats to eliminate bad behaviour. This is a […]

  2. Why You Should Train Your Dog In Several Different Settings says:

    […] reward him for the right actions, you are modifying his environment to reinforce good behaviour. Positive training relies only on reward, without using punishment or threats to eliminate bad behaviour. This is a […]

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