Dog Training Basics
Getting a new puppy or adult dog is always an exciting time for the entire family. There is a good reason why dogs are known as man’s best friend, and a loyal dog is more than just a pet as they becoming a beloved member of the family.
In order to achieve that level of love and companionship, however, it is important to start you need puppy or adult dog off on the right foot. A solid grounding in obedience and problem behavior avoidance is essential to making your dog, and you, happier and healthier.
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 different reasons, if you are in competition, 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 have 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 give him a treat, always use the command for come 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 slightly 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.
Basic dog training is simple and very effective. It should also be fun for you and your dog, it doesn’t have to be hours and hours each day just maybe 5 minutes or so. Don’t forget to reward your dog and yourself for all the “hard” work though!!
Get Started Training Your Dog
There are of course many reasons for owners to want a calm, obedient and faithful dog. For one thing, obedient and trained dogs are happier dogs, less likely to get into tussles with people or with other dogs.
And of course, training your dog well will also make him or her a much better family companion, especially in households where there are young children. Many studies have shown that proper dog training makes a big impact when it comes to cutting down the number of dog bites and other behavior problems encountered by dog owning households.
When considering training your own dog, or having someone else help you train it, there are certain basic commands that must be mastered in order for a dog to be considered truly trained.
These basic commands include:
Heel – it is important that any dog learn to walk beside its owner on a loose lead, neither pulling ahead nor lagging behind
Respond to the word “No” – the word no is one word that all dogs must learn. Training your dog to respond to this important word can save you a ton of trouble.
Sit – Training your dog to sit on command is a vital part of any dog training program.
Stay – A well-trained dog should remain where his or her owner commands, so stay is a very important command in dog training.
Down – Lying down on command is more than just a cute trick; it is a key component of any successful dog training program.
The basic obedience commands that every dog must know are – “Heel”, “No”, “Sit”, “Stay”, “Down” and “Off”. These six commands form the basis of every basic obedience class, and it is vital that you and your dog master these basic commands. These are the fundamentals, and it will be impossible to move onto other commands, or to correct problem behaviors, without having mastered the basics.
Let’s start with the most basic command of all, the heel command. Teaching a dog to heel is the fundamental first step in teaching the dog to walk properly on the leash. The proper place for the dog to walk is at your side, neither lagging behind nor straining to get ahead.
If your dog begins to forge ahead on the lead, gently tug on the leash. If the dog begins to lag behind, gently urge him forward.
Once the dog is consistently walking at your side, try to change your pace and encouraging the dog to match his pace with yours. It should always be the dog who adjusts his pace to you; you should never adjust your pace to meet the needs of the dog.
The word “No”
The word no is an important one for your dog to learn, and one you may be using a lot as training begins. It is important that the dog learns to respond to a sharp “No” promptly and obediently.
The “Sit” command
The sit command is another vital link in the chain that is dog training. Teaching a dog to sit on command, using voice commands alone, will form the groundwork of much future training, so it is important for the dog to master this vital skill.
If your dog does not stop when you do, give a sharp tug on the leash to remind the dog. Many dogs will instinctively stop when you do, while others need to be reminded through the use of the leash and the training collar.
Once the dog has stopped by your side, urge him to sit by pushing gently on his hindquarters. Doing so could frighten, or even injure the dog. Most dogs will recognize this as a sit command.
Repeat this procedure a few times by walking, stopping and sitting your dog. After a few repetitions, the dog will probably begin to sit down on his own every time he stops. It is important to say the word sit each time so that the dog will eventually learn to respond to voice commands alone.
The “Stay” command
Like the sit command, the stay command is a vital building block to other, more advanced training. The stay command is vital to teaching the dog to come when called, which is in turn vital to off leash work.
If the dog begins to follow you, as he probably will it first, come back to the dog and ask him to sit again. Repeat the process until you can reach the end of the leash without your dog getting up from a sitting position.
After the dog is reliably staying where you indicate, you can try dropping the leash and backing further away. It will probably take the dog some time to reliably stay where he is put without becoming distracted.
The “Down” command
The down command is another important part of any basic obedience training program. Teaching a dog to lie down on command is much more than an entertaining trick. The down command is very important in regaining control of a dog or stopping a dog who is engaged in an inappropriate behavior.
Training your dog properly actually strengthens the bond that already exists between dog and handler. The key to successful dog training is to set you up as that pack leader.
Establishing yourself as pack leader is a very important concept for any potential dog trainer to understand. There is only one leader in every pack of dogs, and the owner must establish him or herself as the dominant animal. Failure to do so leads to all manner of behavior problems.
A properly trained dog will respond properly to all the owner’s commands, and will not display anxiety, displeasure or confusion. A good dog training program will focus on allowing the dog to learn just what is expected of it and will use positive reinforcement to reward desired behaviors.
In addition to making the dog a good member of the community, obedience training is a great way to fulfill some of the dog’s own needs, including the need for exercise, the security that comes with knowing what is expected of it, a feeling of accomplishment and a good working relationship with its handler. Dog training gives the dog an important job to do, and an important goal to reach.
Giving the dog a job is more important than you may think. Dogs were originally bred by humans to do important work, such as herding sheep, guarding property and protecting people. Many dogs today have no important job to do, and this can often lead to boredom and neurotic behavior.
Basic obedience training and ongoing training sessions provide the dog with an important job to do. This is especially important for high energy breeds like German shepherds and border collies. Training sessions are a great way for these high energy dogs to use up their extra energy and simply to enjoy themselves.
Incorporating playtime into your dog training sessions is a great way to prevent both yourself and your dog from becoming bored. Always remember to play with your dog helps to strengthen the all-important bond between you as the pack leader and your dog.