Dog Training Basic Commands


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You can and should teach the basics yourself, but professional help can make things easier. Ask your breeder, vet or pet store manager to recommend an obedience school. Just remember: A well-disciplined dog begins with a well-disciplined owner. If you’re inconsistent in your training, your dog will be inconsistent in his behavior.

 Dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, not punishment

Food and a loving voice are excellent positive reinforcements and make training much easier than negative actions.

 Train your puppy to sit

Say “sit” while you push down on his back near his tail, and hold a treat just above eye level. As he stretches his neck for the treat, the pressure on his back will cause him to sit down. Use the sit command to keep your dog from leaping on visitors.

 Teach him to stay

Reinforce the sit command once your puppy has mastered it to teach him to stay. Simply practice “sit” from farther and farther distances, commanding your puppy to sit and “stay.” When you’re ready, call out, “Come” and he’ll come running (earning both the admiration and gratitude of your visitors). Make sure you give him a treat!

 Get him to lie down

To get your puppy to lie down, first train him to sit. Then gently pull out his forepaws as you command “down.” When he’s settled on the floor, hold him down gently with one hand while giving him a treat (at floor level) with the other.

 Teach your puppy to heel

First, your puppy must have a firm grasp of what “sit” means. Then, fit him with a lead and training collar (which you should remove whenever you’re not using it for training). With the puppy sitting at your left, say, “Heel” and begin walking. He’ll probably shoot ahead, but pull back gently on the lead until you’re even with him and repeat the command. Walk at a deliberate, even pace, and gently but firmly pull your puppy next to you, at which point you repeat the “heel” command. Eventually, your puppy will move from one place to another in response to your pointed finger, and will sit at the sound of a finger snap. Sometimes it helps to hold a treat at the heel location and he’ll follow it while you say, “Heel”.
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