Basic Dog Obedience Training
Daily obedience training helps you to bond with your dog, helps to establish pack leadership and enables you to gain more control. Ask your dog to carry out a few basic tasks every day; think of it as recognition for your loyalty and care!
A Few Pointers to Successful Training:
- Keep sessions short – five minutes each day is plenty.
- Keep session’s fun and progress slowly.
- End each session on a positive note.
- Be consistent and give clear, concise instructions.
- Use tasty tit-bits or a favourite toy to reward good behaviour, but not every time. Research shows that response is better if the reward is given at a variable interval.
- Start your training sessions in a quiet, enclosed area away from distractions. As your dog masters each command you can then progress and try them in different situations.
- You may find a short lead useful in some situations in order to gain more control.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of exercise. If you give your dog between half an hour and an hour free exercise before a training session you will find that he is able to concentrate much better.
- If things go wrong DON’T PUNISH THE DOG. You may be progressing too fast and asking too much of him. Gain control by reverting back to a command that gives you a correct response and stop the training session. Take a break and go back to it but go back a few stages to give you and the dog confidence once again.
This is a basic fundamental command that is the foundation of other more demanding commands such as “stay”, “down” and “heel”; so take your time and get it right!
Hold a treat between your finger and thumb with your palm facing out towards the dog. Hold it in front of your dog’s nose and then move it slowly up and over his head. The second his bottom touches the ground give the command “sit” and give him the treat and lots of praise. If your dog backs away try against a wall or in a corner. If he jumps up try lowering the treat a little. Be patient, if you do not get the response straight away keep the treat still for a few seconds and give him time to work it out. Repeat several times.
Once you are confident that your dog understands the “sit” command, you can progress a little further. This time ask for the “sit” command but wait a few seconds before giving the reward. Do not be tempted to use the “stay” command at this stage, this comes later.
The next level is to ask for the “sit” command with the dog by your side. Start with the dog on a lead and guide him by your side. Give the “sit” command and the hand signal by reaching across with the opposite hand; wait for the response and give the reward. You may find it useful to train adjacent to a wall to prevent the dog swinging his bottom around. Progress by walking forward a step then give the “sit” command again. You may be able to do this for a few steps i.e. “sit”, walk one step, “sit”, walk one step, “sit”………
There are 2 parts to learning this command; firstly holding the sit position, and then holding that position whilst you move away.
Ask your dog to sit then wait a few seconds before you give a reward. Gradually lengthen the interval between asking the dog to sit and giving the reward. Once he understands the command and can sit for more than a few seconds start to introduce the “stay” command. Don’t forget to keep using the hand signal as described when teaching to sit i.e. “sit” (flat palm hand signal) “good boy” ….. (Keep using the hand signal) “Stay…..stay” (give reward) “good boy!”
Next, try to move away whilst he sits. As before ask him to sit but this time take one step away then straight back and reward. Do not move away too far too soon, and don’t stand still, this may encourage the dog to break the “stay” and run to you. Gradually increase the distance and the length of time you spend away from the dog before returning. Once you are confident that he understands the command try asking for the command in other places where there may be more distractions.
This is not only an useful command to use when we want to gain control of a situation but it is also a submissive posture for the dog and by asking for this command we are helping to reinforce the dogs position within the family.
Start with the dog in the sit position; using a tasty tit-bit try luring his nose down towards the floor. Once he bends towards the floor give the reward. Gradually lower the reward until he lies down; once he lies down give the “down” command and reward. If he is reluctant to go all the way down hold the treat under your hand between his front paws for a while he may sniff and play around before dropping to the ground.
If you find that his bottom comes up when he drops his head do not be tempted to push his bottom down with your hand. Go back to the sit position and try again. You may find it useful to use a low table or a chair and lure the dog under it with a treat.
Start with your dog on a short lead, wait until he looks at you then reward. Repeat until he no longer looks away from you. Go to an area where he is slightly distracted and repeat the exercise. Next try an even more distracting area. If he doesn’t react in 30 seconds move away from the distraction. Once he is reacting predictably start moving backwards and give the “come” command as he receives the reward. Try to set your dog up to be successful each time. Gradually change the intensity of the distraction and the length of the lead. Do not try this off the lead until you are entirely confident that you will get the correct response. Try in a confined space at first and with the lead still attached and never take any chances near traffic.
These are only a few very basic training commands to get you started and that will hopefully help you earn a little more control and respect. There are many dog training books available that can help you progress further or why not join a local dog training class?