While it sure is rewarding, there’s no denying that being a pooch parent comes with a lot of responsibilities. You need to make arrangements for their living and litter, learn about dog nutrition, buy other pet essentials, and possibly even pet-proof your house (especially if you are bringing home a puppy instead of an adult dog). However, above all, you need to learn how to teach basic commands to your dog!
Sure, you can hire a professional dog trainer to do that, but why spend extra money on something that you can easily do on your own?
Plus, training your dog yourself helps you both bond together more effectively.
With that, let’s learn how to teach basic commands to your dog so that you can truly enjoy the company of an obedient fur friend as soon as you welcome them home.
The basic rule of dog training is to reward good behaviors and redirect bad ones. Rewarding your pup can mean patting and praising them multiple times. Or you can also offer them a treat each time they follow your instructions to further develop the concept and reward and help them distinguish the right actions from the wrong ones.
Redirecting bad behavior means that if, for instance, your pup starts chewing your shoes in the middle of their training, you offer them a chew toy instead.
Another important rule of training your dog yourself is to pick a basic word for getting your pet’s attention. This serves as the foundation for teaching them all other commands, so pick wisely. Generally, this can be anything like ‘look’, ‘look here,’ ‘watch me,’ or ‘listen to me.’ Whatever you choose, just be consistent with it moving forward.
Teaching your dog to sit on your command is ridiculously easy. Start by standing in front of you pet and holding their favorite treat by their nose, but don’t let them have it just yet.
Gradually lift it all the way above your head making sure that they follow the movement without moving from their spot. This will automatically cause them to lower their butt to the ground in a sitting position. Let them stay like that for a few seconds, then praise and reward them with the treat.
To master ‘sit,’ practice this command several times a day at different instances. For example, tell your pooch to sit before putting the food bowl in front of them. Similarly, tell them to keep sitting while you go see who’s at the door.
The ‘down’ command can be bit hard to master so don’t get frustrated with the initially failed attempts. This is because it requires your dog to go lower themselves down completely. Most dogs don’t like this passive position.
Hold their favorite treat or a piece of some nice smelling food in a tightly closed fist and then slowly move it near their nose so that they follow the action. Then immediately lower your hand to the ground so that bring their face down too.
Next, take a step backwards while keeping your hand on the floor. This will provoke your canine friend to follow the food in a laid down position. As soon as they lower their torso to the ground, give the ‘down’ command and then after a few seconds, open your fist and let them savor the hidden treat.
If your pooch tries to take the treat forcefully, lift your hand up high and say ‘No’ with authority.
The ‘stay’ command comes in handy on a lot of occasions especially if you happen to have a hyper-energetic dog. It develops self-control and also proves useful in teaching them more advanced tricks. It will also make your life easier while you prepare their food and want to stop them from attacking the meal before its ready or want to prevent them from lunging at new visitors, and so on.
To learn this command, your pet must first develop the ability to sit on cue.
Hold a treat close to their nose and tell them to sit. When they do, say ‘stay’ and take a step back. If they follow, say ‘no’ and start again. Otherwise, take a few more steps backward and actioning them to stay with your other hand.
If they stay rooted to their original position, offer them the treat. Repeat this at least three times in a row so that they learn it properly.
For this command, it’s best that you use a collar and leash. Plus, your pooch must have mastered the ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ commands before you can move on to practicing this one.
Put the collar on your pet and tell them to sit. While holding the leash, move a few steps away from them. Then, ask them to ‘come’ towards you. Gently tug on the leash and at the same time, motion them to come forward with your free hand.
As with all other steps in obedient training, reward them with a treat if they follow the command correctly.
The ‘come’ command is one of the most basic things to teach your pooch because it can literally be a life savior. It protects them if they get to excited in chasing something like a frisbee or ball while playing fetch. And it will also save them from traffic, neighbors, and other dogs or animals that might try to hurt them.
Most pet parents will agree that having a dog is a lot like having a toddler in the house. You need to discipline them in a way that helps you achieve the desired result without making you come across as a cruel or harsh person.
We hope that after reading this article, you now know how to teach basic commands to your dog without requiring professional help.
by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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