Training Your Dog
In order to be considered properly trained, there are some
basic commands that he or she must master. Understanding these
basic commands is vital to the well being of the dog, the owner
and the family.
Learning just a few basic commands can
go a long way toward creating a dog that is a joy to be around.
Everyone has seen examples of both well trained and poorly
trained dogs, and few people would opt for the poorly trained
varieties. Training a dog properly the first time is especially
vital for owners of dog breeds that have been bred for their
aggressiveness, such as pit bulls, Doberman pinchers and German
In addition, proper training is important for families with
young children. Young children can torment dogs and cause
biting reactions, so it is important that the dog learn how to
deal with these types of situations.
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. This will cause the training collar to tighten and
give the dog a gentle reminder to fall back into line. If the
dog begins to lag behind, gently urge him forward. A lure or
toy is a good tool for the dog that constantly lags behind.
Once the dog is consistently walking at your side, try changing
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 learn 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.
The sit command can be combined with the heel command. As you
walk alongside your dog, stop abruptly. 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
Once the dog has stopped by your side, urge him to sit by
pushing gently on his hindquarters. It is important not to use
too much pressure, or to push him down abruptly. Doing so could
frighten, or even injure the dog. Rather, apply a steady
downward pressure. Most dogs will recognize this as a sit
command. It is important to say the word sit as you do
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. For instance, the stay command is vital to teaching
the dog to come when called, which is in turn vital to off
The stay command can be made into an extension of the sit
command. Have your dog sit, and while he is sitting, slowly
back away. 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.
The “Off” command
The off command is just as vital
to as the other commands, and it forms the basis for later
training, especially when training the dog not to chase people,
cars, bikes, cats, etc.
For instance, when training a dog to remain still when a
bicycle goes by, the owner would stand with the dog calmly on
the leash. If the dog begins to strain against the leash, the
owner sharply issues an “Off” command accompanied by a tug of
the leash. Eventually the dog will learn to respond to the
voice command alone.