Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Basic Commands

Recently get a new canine addition to your family and wondering where to start with training?
Once your dog has a sense of when he is doing something write verses wrong (yes vs. no), you can start working with him on actual commands. Starting with easier commands for you and your dog is usually the way to go.

Here are a few of the basic commands that should be first on your list of things to teach your pooch.


As always in training, start with a yummy treat and a good, patient attitude. Have your dog stand in front of you. and put the treat to his nose, just so he can smell it, not eat it yet.
Slowly, lure his head back with your hand over his head, until he is leaning back to keep the treat in sight. Once he is doing this, or very close to doing this, say YES! (or use a clicker) and give him the treat. Repeat this, but have him leaning back farther and farther each time, until his butt hits the ground. It is important to praise him with a yes or click the moment his butt hits the ground, then treat, repeat and have a break. I find that it is best to keep training sessions only five to ten minutes long, with plenty of fun, play-filled breaks in between.


With your dog in the sitting position, take a treat and slowly begin to lower your hand away from your dog and towards the ground. The moment your dog so much as lowers his head, praise and treat. Continue, waiting to treat your dog until he gets lower and lower each time until he is in the down position.
This command usually takes me a few more training sessions to master than the sit command, so be patient. If you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break from training, its better to end a training session abruptly rather than take out any of your frustration on your dog.
Once your dog gives you the desired action, make a huge deal out of it, giving him lots and lots of praise and more treats than usual, so that he knows that he made you happy.


This command takes many training sessions over a long period of time, and can never be truly and 100% mastered. But it is one of the most important commands for your dog to know, and can potentially save his life. Some dogs take a lot longer to get the idea of coming back to you when called, even when there are lots of exciting distractions around. I know this first hand, one of my dogs still has trouble coming back when he sees a furry, fast moving creature.
I will probably go into more depth on recall in a later post, since it is so vital to know and get right, but here are the basics.
Start with your dog inside your house with very low distractions. Take a handful of the yummiest treats thinkable, like steak or hotdog, and stand a few feet from your dog. Next, make your recall noise, such as COME!! or a whistle/trill, anything exciting, high pitched command works. Make your dog super excited to come to you, and throw a party with your yummy treats once he does come to you. Do this only a few times a day, don't overdue it though, and slowly start to increase distance from dog and distractions. Move to your back yard, then your front, then the sidewalk. Then on a long leash at an empty park. Work on it everyday and slowly you will start to see an improvement.

That's all for today!

1 comment:

  1. Puppy training seems to take forever! Nice post.