Whether you have young pup or an older dog, learning new tricks and/or training your K9 companion can be a demanding task for any owner. Still, it is incredibly important and can help you better manage or avoid common dog behavioral issues. A trained dog is happy and well behaved, which makes for happy PAW-rents!
Convinced but not sure where to begin your dog training? Well, there are obedience classes available but they are not the only way to have a well-trained dog if you are willing to put in a little hard work yourself. With the right attitude you and your dog can both learn while having fun! The WonderWoof team has identified five essential commands for training your dog. While there are plenty more commands and tricks to learn, we believe teaching your dog these five commands will help you create a strong foundation for the future.
“Sit” is one of the most basic commands and is a great trick to start with since it is simple to teach for both of you. Many dogs become excited when a door is opened or they are about to be fed or walked. Teaching your dog to sit and wait will help subdue their excitement so you can continue what you are doing unencumbered. The sit command is also useful to teach dogs that have a problem jumping on people.
To teach your dog the sit command, start by holding a treat close to your dog’s nose. Move your hand up which will cause your dog's head to go up and bottom to lower. When your dog is in the sit position repeat the word sit and give your dog the treat and affection. Repeat this sequence daily until your dog can sit on command. Now before walks, meal time, and any other situation that is appropriate you can have your dog sit and be calm.2. Come
“Come” is a command that can help out tremendously if your dog has gotten into a bit of mischief. This command will have your dog come back to you if you drop the leash or accidentally leave the door open. It is also a useful command if you plan on bringing your dog to a dog park and is essential if you plan on allowing your dog to run off leash. The come command helps you control situations and can help keep your dog out of harm's way.
To start teaching the come command, put a leash on your dog. Go down to your dog's level and while gently pulling the leash tell your dog to come. When your dog does walk towards you, give him or her a treat and affection. Repeat until your dog has mastered the come command. Then, take off the leash in a safe contained area and try the command again.
3. Stay & Okay
“Stay” and “Okay” are two commands that go hand in hand with each other. Stay is a harder command for some dogs to learn, but it is worth being patient when teaching stay as this command can be a great way to contain a situation. The stay command can be used to stop your dog from running into a dangerous situation or to stop him/her from grabbing something that they shouldn’t be grabbing (we’ve all been there!). Before teaching your dog to stay, make sure you have mastered the sit command.
The okay command is used as a way to let your dog know he or she can stop doing whatever command they were previously doing. It means that your dog has permission to move freely.
Here is one method to add stay and okay to your dog’s bag of tricks. First, give your dog the sit command. Put your palm out and give your dog the command to stay. Take a couple steps back. If your dog stays reward him or her with praise and a treat. Increase the steps back as you go along. Remember to keep on rewarding your dog if he or she stays, even if they stay put for just a couple seconds.
After your dog has learned to stay you can teach him or her the okay command. When you are ready to release your dog from staying say "okay" loudly and release your hand from the open palm position. When your dog begins to move present him or her a treat and affection.
Of course everybody hopes that their furry friend won’t put anything in his or her mouth that they aren't suppose to but, in all likelihood, this is bound to happen. This is a good reason to teach your dog the "drop" command. There are a lot of methods to teach your K9 companion this command and our preference is the method which will get your dog to, with practice, drop the item out of his or her mouth happily.
To begin, give your dog a chew toy they enjoy. Then, with your dog’s favorite treats in hand, give the drop command while offering your dog the treat. When your dog drops the toy to take the treat, give him or her praise. Offer your dog his or her chew toy again and repeat several times. When your dog is no longer interested in his or her chew toy or has had enough treats, end the training session.
Next time try the exercise the same way by giving your dog his or her chew toy. Now reach for the chew toy and keep your dog’s treats hidden. Give the drop command. Based on the previous exercises your dog should be expecting a treat and will drop the chew toy. If your dog does drop the chew toy, give him or her a treat and praise. Don’t worry if this takes some time. You may have to do the first part of this exercise a couple times before completing the second.
5. Leave it
The key to teaching your furry friend the "leave it" command is to convince him or her that you have something even better than the potentially dangerous or off limits item your dog is focused on. A great method for teaching your dog the leave it command is to first place one of your dog’s favorite treats in both of your hands. Show your dog your closed hand, which has a treat inside, and give the leave it command. Ignore your dog’s attempts to get the treat in your closed hand. Once your dog stops trying to get the treat give him or her the treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog steps away from your fist and looks up at you when you give the leave it command.
These 5 commands are great starting steps in training your dog and keeping him/her healthy. Remember that treats are great for training but be wary of too many high calories treats and add lots of affection for positive reinforcement.
For tips on how to keep your calm and be effective while teaching your pup many more new tricks, check out this article http://dogtime.com/lifestyle/dog-activities/82-basic-commands-obedience.
We at WonderWoof wish you luck in your training journey and remember, patience is the key!