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.

Strength Training Guide

Strength training is done purely to improve strength and can either be used on its own, such as by power lifters and other strength athletes, or combined with other training methods, most often muscle building. It is most different to other training methods in that the health and fitness benefits are minimal due to the low rep, high rest periods involved.

How To Train

Of all training methods, strength training is the one most likely to cause injury if not done with good technique after a thorough warm-up and stretching routine. This is because the greater the resistance and the fewer the reps done the better. In fact any more than 6 reps and it is no longer classed as strength training. Ideally a single repetition done with maximum resistance is most effective (commonly known as the one-rep max), but it also brings with it the greatest risk of injury due to the intense stress placed upon muscles, joints and the body overall. Strength training forces the body to engage the whole of the muscles involved in the exercise to complete the repetition. Then while resting, the muscles are repaired and their size increases to better cope with the demands next time. Though this is nothing like the increase gained by training for muscle building.

Generally 2 or 3 reps is recommended with 3 sets per exercise.

Rest Periods

Adenosinetriphosphate, or ATP for short, is stored in the body and is what fuels muscle contraction. There isn’t a large amount available however, so it must be made on demand by the phosphocreatine system (which is where creatine supplements can help). This is also stored in the body and like ATP, it is ready and waiting to be used for energy. But these stores are also limited and after the first 10 seconds or so of exercise they’re exhausted and take a while to recover. This is why strength training involves low reps and longer rests between sets. The minimum is 3 minutes, but if you’re serious about training only for strength, 5 or more is better.


Most weight training exercises can be for strength training, but compound exercises involve the most muscles and should form the core of any strength training program. Especially Squats, Deadlift and Bench Press. The other exercises involved depend on the individual goal but will almost always involve split routines, where different muscle groups are worked separately on different days.

In Summary

For pure strength training, do 2 or 3 reps per set and 3 sets per exercise, with 3 to 5 minutes rest period between each set. As I said earlier however, strength training can be combined with other training methods to produce less specific results.

Pyramid Training involves increasing the resistance of each set as the number of reps decreases, or can be done the opposite way, decreasing the resistance of each set as the number of reps increases. This creates a more rounded workout but the result depends on the amount of reps. For example, increasing the reps up to a maximum of 10 will sacrifice some gains in strength, but will cause a greater increase in muscle mass. While increasing the amount of reps to 15 and beyond will have more of a general conditioning effect, defining the muscle more but with much less benefit to strength or muscle size.


This is similar to pyramid training but mostly used by people who have a specific goal and time frame, such as a bodybuilder who is training for a competition or a sportsman who wants to maintain fitness in the off season without over training. For example, a bodybuilder might spend 6 weeks training with a maximum of 3 reps per set to increase strength, which he would then use to build muscle by doing 10 reps per set for another 6 weeks. Finally he would increase his reps to 15 or more per set for 6 weeks for greater muscle definition, which would be complete on the day of a competition.

There are many other ways to train, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s so important to know your strength training goal before you begin.