Dog training is a wonderful way to bond with your pet. It can strengthen your human/dog relationship. During the times that you and your dog are focused upon one another, bonding happens naturally. Trust is also an essential element to the human/dog relationship. If your dog knows it can trust you to be there, to be kind, to be respectful and deserving of respect, to provide food and water daily, and to provide exercise and affection daily, your dog will be able to trust you. Spending one-on-one time with your dog will also help to develop the relationship between the two of you. Training is one of the best ways to spend this quality time with your dog, as you will both benefit from it.
Below are the top five dog training commands, and how to teach them successfully.
–How to Come to the Owner When Called:
Teaching your dog to return to you when you call his or her name is one of the most important basic commands. Generally, responsible pet owners will always maintain their dog on a leash. But there are instances when a dog will either be let off of a leash on purpose, or the dog will accidentally get away from you. It is essential to the human/dog relationship that you are able to simply call to your dog, and have the dog return to your location without having to chase him or her across a park, or wherever you may be.
This may be one of the harder dog training commands to teach your dog, but it is essential to the dog’s safety to come when called. One of the biggest mistakes people make regarding this command is to scold or otherwise punish the dog once he or she has returned to you after getting loose. This only teaches the dog that coming to you when called is not a pleasant experience. In the alternative, when the dog comes after it is called, the human owner should show praise, affection, and perhaps even provide the dog with a treat or a favorite toy. This teaches the dog that returning to the owner when called is the best thing to do.
–How to Sit on Command:
There are many reasons why this dog training command is an important one for your dog to master. Mostly, it is used to bring your dog into a controlled, calm position for whatever reason. If there is chaos abound, people arriving at your home for a holiday or a cookout, your dog may become very overstimulated and excited. He or she may jump up on guests, knock small children over, or otherwise add to the chaos of a situation. Learning to sit when told to do so will eliminate the dog’s contribution to the chaotic situation.
Teaching a dog to sit is all about positive reinforcement. To start out, you should hold a small dog treat in your fingers where the dog can smell it, but cannot take it from you. Then say “Sit!”, and gently push down your dog’s backside onto the floor. Once he or she is sitting, praise the dog warmly and provide the treat for good behavior. Have your dog return to a standing position, and repeat. Once this behavior becomes ingrained in your dog, you will not longer find treats necessary–positive praise will be enough.
–How to Lie Down When Told:
This is basically an extension of sitting. You should not attempt to teach “Lie Down” before your dog understands “Sit”. A dog in a lying down position will most likely be a dog who is not behaving undesirably, such as jumping up on people, begging for food at the table, or other behaviors which one would frown upon.
To teach the “Lie Down” command, begin with having your dog sit down when asked. As the dog is in the sitting position, you are again going to use a treat as positive reinforcement when the dog follows your command. Start by saying “Down!”, and holding the treat where the dog can smell it, but not eat it–between your finger and thumb right in front of his or her nose. Slowly move the treat down toward the floor. As your dog moves its head closer to the floor, repeat “Down!”, and begin moving the treat away from the dog’s nose in a horizontal line with the floor. This will usually encourage the dog to enter into the lying down position. To effectively teach this dog training command, repeat the above steps over and over again.
In the process of dog training, teaching a dog to stay is another very important command in order to keep your dog out of trouble and harm’s way. When you are first teaching the “Stay” command to your dog, he or she may not understand that you wish for it to stay put for more than a few seconds or minutes. But rest assured, with enough dog training and positive reinforcement, it is possible to teach dogs to stay in one place for an extended period of time.
When teaching your dog the “Stay” command, patience is in order. Your dog must learn that it is pleasing you by staying in one place, and oftentimes this takes a little bit of work. Start off by having your dog lie down. Once the dog is lying down, say “Stay!”. Then you also stay where you are, and wait 20 seconds or so. If your dog has not moved, praise him or her and provide a treat. If, however, your dog does move after you have told him or her to “Stay”, you should gently lead the dog back to the stay-spot by the collar, tell it to “Lie Down” again, and then say “Stay!”. If he or she remains in the stay-spot for 20 seconds, go ahead and provide a treat. Be aware, however, that if you provide a treat to a dog who is not following your dog training directions, you will be reinforcing negative behavior–and that is never a good thing.
–How to Heel on Command:
The “Heel” command in dog training is used regarding walking your dog on a leash. It literally means that you want your dog to walk next to your heel without pulling on its leash, trying to walk faster than you, or stopping behind you due to distractions.
Teaching your dog to “Heel” can be a bit complicated. You should be well-prepared to reward your dog with treats when you go on a leash walk with him or her. There are many options for teaching your dog to walk calmly by your side, and the easiest one to teach involves putting a stop to bad behavior and rewarding good behavior. If you are walking with your dog, and it pulls ahead of you on the leash, stop walking. Call the dog back to you and command him or her to “Sit!”. When the dog does so, reward the dog with a treat. Then start walking again. If the dog continues to walk by your side, provide praise while walking, and give him or her a treat as well. Your dog will quickly learn that staying by your side is appreciated.
Dogs who are well-trained are certainly more pleasant to be around. Additionally, dog training, as stated above, is a great way to bond with your pet. Finally, making sure that your dog has these five dog training basics mastered will assure that you can keep him or her safe in any situation.