If you are a dog owner or in the process of considering becoming one then to fully enjoy the experience of owning and caring for your dog I would strongly recommend that you learn the very basic training commands that your dog must learn to obey. There are a few simple reasons for why you need to teach your dog simple and clear commands.
It will make the whole experience one of pleasure for you and your family by not allowing your dog to dictate the terms. It will more importantly keep your dog safe from being knocked down on a busy road. It will also prevent any instances of potential mauling and you will never have a terrified postman!
Here is a list of the basic commands:
• No (To discourage wrong behaviour)
• Heel (Used when walking your dog)
• Leave It (To avoid conflict with other dogs)
These are hopefully self explanatory for the most part but there is a training method that goes along with them. First of all it is to only use these words when you are training your dog. Don’t use combinations and add other words on.
Let’s use an example of teaching your dog to sit.
In a firm and commanding voice say the word “Sit.” Then firmly press down on the dog’s haunches and push back on the chest at the same time, until the dog is in the same position.
When this happens give the dog a small reward and praise it. Continue this until it instantly obeys this one word command.
Here is what not to do and many make this mistake. They will say things like “Sit boy” or “Sit Girl” or “Sit Down Now” or “Come on, Sit.” Don’t ever do that as it just causes confusion with so many words/sounds that the dog can’t absorb and remember when they are just learning the new commands.
It is the same process then for all the commands. Master one of them and then move on to the next. Never try to do them all at the one time as this just confuses the dog and interrupts their training.
You can of course join a dog club where this is demonstrated but it really is just as easy to do at home. Remember, keep to the single word command followed by a small reward and praise, that’s all there is to it on a consistent basis.
Once these basic commands have been learned and regularly responded to – and be relentless about that – then it is a great idea to move to the more advanced training. This is called agility training where you can train your dog to do tricks, or go through obstacles. This is great for stimulating their minds and also a fun thing to do.
I always recommend listening to the experts when you wish to learn something and if you have ever watched episodes of the “The Dog Whisperer” you will see he uses consistent and basic commands at all times.
There are many great instructional books and DVDs available online and it’s a great idea to get yourself a small library of those to learn the basics and then build up to the more advanced training techniques. However, do take the steps to learn the steps in basic dog obedience training first and then the whole process will be a fun experience for you both.