Teaching Your Dog Basic Commands

Teaching Your Dog Basic Commands

Dogs are great additions to your family but if they are not so well behaved you may find being a dog owner more trouble than you thought.  Teaching your dog basic commands like sit, stay and lie down can help make your life easier.  Here are some tips on basic training for your dog.

Reward Rather Than Punishment

Dogs, puppies in particular respond better to positive reinforcement rather than punishment.  You have options when it comes to rewarding your dog, you can use praise, affection, toys and treats.  Although you should be cautious with the treats, your dog can come to expect them if you use them too often.  If you try and teach your dog basics like sit and stay just before mealtimes then treats can be very effective.

You need to give your dog the reward immediately after the good behavior and even if you use treats or toys always include verbal praise.  Dogs respond best when you use hand signals along with verbal cues, so when teaching them to sit point at the floor at the same time.  Once your dog has learned the basic commands you can cut back on the rewards.  Here is a look at how that is done.

Basic Commands

The easiest command to teach your dog is to come to you.  You can use a treat to reinforce this lesson, all you have to do is hold the piece of food in the air and call to your dog.  Once they come you give them the food, step back a couple of paces and repeat the lesson.  Sitting is probably the most common command for dogs and again you can use food as a reward.  Take the treat and put it just above your puppy’s nose and move the food up and over their head.  As their nose goes up looking for the food their butt goes down.  While this is happening make sure that you are telling your dog to sit.  Always give praise when your dog performs as commanded.

Teaching your dog to lie down is a bit more challenging, and again using food as a reward will work the best.  Teaching them to lie down will be easier if you do it on a flat surface like your kitchen floor.  You will need to hold the food directly in front of their nose and move the food downwards toward their front paws.  As you move the food down make sure that you say the command you want them to learn.  This will take far more practice than simply telling them to sit.

The hardest command you will teach your dog is to stay.  Dogs are pack animals and love to be with people, staying in one spot is hard for them.  Only practice this command after they have had exercise and are relatively calm.  Start by getting them to sit.  After they sit give them the command to stay and step back a couple of paces.  Don’t wait too long before going back to your dog, just a couple of seconds.  Gradually increase the time as they learn to stay.  Always look your dog in the eye as you tell them to stay.

Do You Know What You're Feeding Your Dog?

Do You Know What You’re Feeding Your Dog?

Do you know what you’re feeding your dog?  Most dogs will eat almost anything that you want to put in front of them, that doesn’t mean that they should.  Dogs are a lot like people in their nutritional requirements, and many dogs are suffering from preventable diseases because of the things that they eat.  Most pet owners grab commercial dog food from the grocery store without unaware that it is the dog food equivalent to human junk food.  Commercial dog foods have a lot of fillers and unhealthy ingredients your dog doesn’t need.  Let’s take a closer look.

Human Food Can Work For Dogs

Much of the food that you prepare for yourself and your family is the same nutritious food that your dog needs too.  Dogs need quality proteins, minerals and vitamins from vegetables.  Be aware that there are some foods that your dog cannot eat, but you can make your own dog food pretty easily.  You can often give your dog a portion of the meal that you have made for your family.

Vets Don’t Always Have the Best Food

Many vets endorse or sell dog food within their offices and you would think that it would be a great choice for your dog.  That isn’t always the case, vets spend a lot of time learning how to care for your dog but they really don’t spend a lot of time learning about nutrition.  Much of their education on nutrition comes from pet food representatives who are not exactly an impartial source.

Your Dog’s Teeth

Don’t believe the commercials that tell you their brand of dog food is good for cleaning your dog’s teeth.  There was a study a couple of years ago that implied dry dog food “may” be better for your dog’s teeth over canned dog food.  However the reality shows that most dogs who eat kibble still have dental disease.

Your Dog Needs a Variety of Food

Do you want to eat the same thing day after day?  Neither does your dog.  Not only that, just like people dogs need a variety of food to meet their nutritional requirements.  Be cautious however, lots of dogs will have some sensitivity to new foods and new foods everyday can give your dog stomach issues.  That largely happens after they have been fed the same food day after day.  A well balanced diet will restore their digestive system and they should have no issues with food.

We all want the best for our dogs, they are members of the family.  Commercial dog foods may not be your best choice, but you can feed a healthy diet quite easily.