The Commands That Every Dog Owner Should Know....

 

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.  Another reason is that many communities require that the dogs living in their neighborhoods be well trained.

This is especially true for many breeds thought to have aggression and behavior problems – dog breeds like pit bulls and rottweilers for instance.

And of course, training your dog well will also make he or she 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 bits 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 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.

  • Off – Forms the basis for later training, especially when training the dog not to chase people, cars, bikes, cats, etc.

Heel

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 training collar. 

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 this.

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 leash work.

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.

Dog training does much more than just create an obedient, willing companion.  Training your dog properly actually strengthens the bond that already exists between dog and handler.  Dogs are pack animals, and they look to their pack leader to tell them what to do.  The key to successful dog training is to set yourself 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.  Playing with your dog helps to strengthen the all important bond between you – the pack leader – and your dog.



About the Author

Jonathan Cheong - absolute-dog-training.com

 

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