Teaching BASIC DOG COMMANDS
How can I teach my dog a few essential commands?
Come : The come command is a useful tool for managing annoying puppy behaviour. This command helps keep a dog out of trouble or gives him a job to do. To teach the come:
1. Clip a light line to your dog’s collar and let him drag it around. After he is accustomed to the line, pick up the end and hold it as you follow him around the yard. As he gets used to this, he’ll begin to understand that the two of you are attached.
2. With your marker word in mind— ‘yes’—and a few treats, walk backward, encouraging him to follow along. When he twirls around and comes toward you, say ‘Yes!’ and treat. Tell him that he’s the cleverest dog in the world.
3. Begin to pair the behavior with the word ‘come.’ Every time he responds correctly, praise and reward him. Make the come command a game that your puppy wants to play.
Don’t get in the habit of yelling ‘come’ multiple times if your dog does not respond. If you do so, you will teach him to associate the command with a negative consequence.
Stay: The stay command is one of the hardest for puppies and young dogs to master. The goal with stay is to teach your dog that his job is to remain right where he is until given further instructions. To teach the stay:
1. Put a leash on your dog and have him sit comfortably next to you.
2. Wave a flat palm toward his muzzle and say ‘Stay.’ Step in front of your dog, wait a few seconds, and then step back beside him.
3.Reward him for not breaking his stay.
4.If he moves, calmly say ‘Oops’ or ‘Uh uh’ and put him back where he was initially.Again, give the stay command along with the hand signal.
5. Practice this multiple times every day in different locations.After rewarding him with praise and a treat for success, teach him a release word, or the word you will say when it’s time for him to be released from the stay. A good release word is ‘okay.’
Down: The down command is a good management tool that helps keep dogs out of trouble and out from underfoot. A shy or fearful dog might have more trouble learning a down, so go slowly while teaching this skill..To teach the down:
1. Hold a very tasty treat in your closed hand and place it at your dog’s muzzle.
2. When he notices the scent of the treat, move your hand toward the floor. He should follow the hand that hides the treat.
3. While the dog’s head follows your hand, move your hand along the floor in front of him. His body will follow his head, and once he stretches out into a down, open your hand to let him eat the treat.
4.Repeat multiple times daily and pair the behavior with the word ‘down.’
If your dog lunges toward your hand, say ‘Nope’ and take your hand away before he can get to the treat. If he tries to sit up, break away and start again. Never push him into a down. After a successful attempt, always release your puppy from the down and run off to play with him.
Walk Nicely on Leash: A dog who doesn’t lunge or pull at the end of his lead shows your neighbors and friends that you have trained him to be a good member of the community and is less likely to become fearful in new situations.
1. Attach his leash to his buckle collar and say ‘Let’s go’ using your happy voice. Put treats in your left side pocket or a bait bag.
2. Encourage his forward motion by patting your left leg. When he is close to your side, pop a treat in his mouth.
3. Every few steps stop to praise him for being in the correct place.
4. When he forges ahead or lags behind, stop to let him wander to the end of his leash.
5. The slight leash tension will cause him to turn around. As soon as you feel the slack in the line, say your verbal praise marker: ‘Yes!’ Praise and treat when he bounces back to you.
6. When he pulls, practice the ‘be a tree’ principle, stopping all motion. His unwanted behavior will self–correct. Wait him out if he doesn’t come back to your side.
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