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Basic Dog Training Commands

Everyone prefers a well-trained pup as opposed to an out of control dog who does as he pleases.

While your dog does not have to wow everyone by jumping through hoops of fire, it is nice to teach your dog a few basic commands to ensure he won’t get into too much trouble.

Some of the most essential commands include “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “down,” and “leave it.”

One of the best commands to start with is “sit.” As the owner, you should make it clear that you have authority over your dog, though try to avoid being a harsh authority figure. This will make it difficult for your canine to trust you. However, as the authority figure, you have control over the treats. You should start by holding the treat in front of your puppy’s nose (don’t let him snatch it away from you!) and slowly raise the treat above his head. His nose will tip up to follow the treat, and that will make his bottom lower. When he reaches the sitting position, firmly and clearly say “sit” then give him the treat. Consistently follow this, and he should eventually understand that when his body reaches that position he gets a treat.

Once mastering the “sit” command, you and your pooch can move on to the “stay” command. You should start by firmly telling him to sit. After telling him to sit, you should first open your palm. Extend your open palm towards your dog, and then tell him in a clear, firm voice to stay. Take a few steps back after saying this command. If he does what he is told, reward him with a treat and lots of affection and verbal praise. As you continue to teach him, increase the number of steps each time before rewarding him with a treat. Remember to always reward your puppy, even if he does not stay as long as you would like him to. He is learning. This exercise can take a lot of time, as it is an exercise of self control. Do not be discouraged if it is going slower than you had hoped.

One of the more difficult commands is “down”. This is a difficult command for dogs to obey, because it requires a lot of submission for your dog. There must be a certain amount of trust between you and your dog. One way you can help yourself is by staying relaxed and upbeat, especially if your dog tends to be nervous and tense. You should start this command by taking a treat with a strong scent. Your hand needs to be closed around the treat. Hold your closed fist to your dog’s snout. After he or she sniffs it, slowly move your hand to the floor so his head follows. You should slide your hand along the ground, encouraging his body to follow his head down to the floor. Once he is the “down” position, give him the treat, physical affection, and verbal praise.
Remember that the most important ingredients in training your dog is trust and praise. Without these, training will be much more difficult. Remember to stay positive and patient!