Training Your Dog 101: Basic Commands

Obedience training can be tedious, but with the right tools, techniques, and patience, you and your dog should be able to succeed without any difficulty. These training sessions will also help you two get to know each other. After all dogs, like people, have their own personalities.

There is always the option of taking your dog to a professional trainer, who can be found at local pet stores, or you can find a specialised dog-training centre near your area. However, if you choose to train at home, there are some general rules to follow during your obedience training sessions and when you are not actively training your dog.

Focus on positive reinforcement. This means eliminating the word “no” from your vocabulary when your dog does something bad and do not try to abolish behaviours that just need an outlet. In obedience training, positive reinforcement means that you give your dog praise and rewards when he does something “right”. Reinforcing commands will help him remember what kinds of behaviours you find acceptable.

Use a normal tone of voice when giving him a command. Your dog’s hearing is unique and astute. If you use a callous tone of voice, he will think that he is “trouble”. Use the tone that you would normally use when commanding him to sit on any regular day.

Remember that dogs are social animals. That means regular interactions with you and other dogs as well. Playing with your dog after an obedience training session will allow both of you to bond, which happen to be another form of positive reinforcement. He will want to do good deeds and please you because he sees you as an “alpha” or a leader.

Obedience training also requires a lot of patience. After you’ve been training for a while, you should try to start get in the habit of only giving a command once. If your dog obeys, then reward him, and if he doesn’t, then move on to something else.

There are basic “tricks” and behaviours that every dog should know in order to have a happy, in-home relationship with you and your family; sit, down, stay, come, and heel. When teaching your dog these tricks in obedience training, make sure to use plenty of rewards and praises. Potty training your dog is another important behaviour that needs to be learned and will take more patience than other commands.

During obedience training sessions, say the command and hold the treat in front of his face while helping him (gently) perform the action. Start small (with the commands “sit” and “stay”). Once those two commands are perfected, increase the distance between you and your dog when giving the command. After that is accomplished, you can move on to different tricks and behaviour expectations.