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.
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.