THE FIRST COMMANDS YOU MUST TEACH YOUR DOG?
Why teach your dog? All dog training is important for both you and your dog and helps develop a bond between you. Who doesn’t want a well-trained, obedient dog? There is no doubt that dogs over the centuries have always wanted to please their human companion by being obedient when it matters. But they are just like our own children; they’re not usually born trained and obedient. They don’t know anything implicitly. So, they need training, which is to be done explicitly.
Why should you teach your dog to be obedient?
Training your dog won’t only balance your dog’s habits, but it will also improve your relationship with your new bestie friend. But, for me, the greatest benefit is that it will help keep him safe! A dog that obeys its owner will never charge into the road or worry sheep if he’s commanded to sit or stay when his owner spots danger.
Two of the most common commands for your dog
Here, I believe to be the first and the most important commands you will need to teach your dog. These commands have the bonus of being quite easy to teach, even for a very young dog, and they are:
SIT and STAY!
There are some factors that you need to be aware of before and while training your dog. In the following sections, I have discussed what will help your training sessions to run smoothly.
Choose a Suitable Training Environment
When planning your dog’s training, you must choose an appropriate and suitable environment.
So, what is the best environment?
First off, the environment needs to be suitable for your dog, whatever his age or size. It must be distraction-free, and he needs to feel comfortable within his surroundings.
A quiet space
A room at home is a perfect training arena because there are generally fewer distractions in the room. It also means you can start to teach your dog straight away, even before his vaccinations are completed.
Doing this, you will get more control over your dog’s behaviour. And if he is still very young, say under three months old the training will become imprinted on him much quicker.
Avoid public spaces
At first, it is best to avoid outdoor training such as parks, grounds, or other public places because there are often too many distractions that can interrupt the training. But if you’re blessed with a yard or outdoor space, you can use that to teach your dog these two basic commands.
Lack of attention
If you notice at first that your dog doesn’t seem to want to pay attention during the session, take a break. Have a play with him, and you can still incorporate playing into his training. For example, before you throw a ball or soft toy ask him to stay for a moment – his reward for staying will be when you allow him to dash off and retrieve it.
Ensure that you are not demanding too much from your dog, all at once, or what he may be capable of achieving. A dog that is over-stretched will become distracted quite soon. It is best when beginning to teach your dog that you keep to short fun-filled sessions of 5- 10 minutes. Take plenty of breaks. Once your dog starts taking an interest and getting the hang of things, you can increase the duration.
TOP COMMANDS YOU NEED TO TEACH YOUR DOG.
1) Teach Your Dog to Sit
Teaching your dog to sit can prove to be beneficial for him to start progressing in his training. The reason is that the sit command is the most basic and the simplest to teach. And it is like a building block towards other advanced commands. Once a dog knows how to sit on command, he can easily learn other commands. Most of the commands are initialized with a sitting posture.
The Benefits of teaching your puppy to sit
Teaching your puppy to sit has several significant benefits. It is the first step in building a strong bond with your dog. This command helps in handling aggressive dogs. Any puppy or dog will have great difficulty showing aggression whilst sitting, preventing them from lunging.
There are two proven and easy techniques to teach your dog to sit, and they are Capturing and Luring. We’ll start with the technique of capturing.
This is a fundamental and easy technique to teach your dog to sit.
TECHNIQUE ONE – CAPTURING
Start by standing in front of your dog and hold some treats in your hand. The treat can be anything, such as dog food. You can even use human food that is good for dogs too, such as cooked chicken strips. Even dog-diet food can be used if you worry about your dog’s weight dogs.
Make sure to reserve enough treats as you will be offering him plenty of those during the session. So, it is recommended to use small morsels of food, to taste but not fill him up.
With the treat in your hands, lower your hand to the ground and say sit and wait for the dog to sit. Once he sits, say yes. This will tell the dog that he has done something right. And then give him his treat. Then move away from your dog so that he can stand. Make sure to keep a close eye on him. As soon as he starts to sit again, say the word sit. Give him the treat once his bottom touches the ground. Continue with this strategy until your dog gets familiar with the word sit.
You can eliminate giving him treats once he is familiar with the command, instead give him loads of praise.
TECHNIQUE TWO – LURING
Now let’s move towards our second technique. This strategy is known as luring. Just like capturing, it is another essential and easy to perform the technique. Sit down in front of your dog, holding a treat in your hand. Again, you can use anything as a treat for your dog. Bring the treat near to the dog’s nose so that he can sniff it. Doing this will get his attention. More tips to get his attention.
Then move the treat above his head. Make sure to keep the treat on such a balance height that your dog cannot grab it. Also, make sure not to hold the treat at too high so that your dog starts jumping up to grab it. He will try to keep his sight on the treat. And while doing so, he will eventually sit.
As soon as he begins to sit, say ‘sit’ and wait for his bottom to touch the floor. Give him a “yes” followed by a treat.
Perform this strategy repeatedly a few times so that your dog gets familiar with the hand signal. Then you can start to say ‘sit’ the reward command before actually giving the hand signal to sit.
Only use one of these techniques, or else you may confuse your dog or puppy.
Never try to put your dog in the sitting position physically. This can prove to be complicated and uncomfortable for the dog.
2) Teach Your Dog to Stay
Teaching your dog to stay is a handy and important command. It will help you maintain control of your dog, especially when outdoors. You’ll be able to prevent your dog from getting into mischief or being a nuisance, with inappropriate behaviour, such as getting into disputes with other dogs.
As mentioned, the sit command is fundamental and a foundation for the dog to learn other commands. Sit command is a pre-requisite to learn this command. Teaching this ‘stay’ command to your puppy is another step in building a relationship with your dog.
STEP ONE TO TEACHING YOUR DOG TO STAY
When you begin to teach your dog to stay, you will need to pick an area that is not only quite but is also familiar to your dog. Doing this will mean he won’t be tempted to explore any new surroundings and reduce distractions.
Whenever possible, you’ll need to ensure your dog is relaxed before any training so that he’ll be happy paying attention to you. It is often beneficial, especially if your dog is full of energy to take him for a walk before any training sessions.
You can start to teach your dog to stay from the sit, down or stand position, whichever one he is most familiar and comfortable with. Pick a cue word and a hand signal. But make sure you always use the same cue. Otherwise, you will confuse your dog. Any cue word will do such as ‘stay’ or ‘wait’ and the hand signal could be a pointed finger or showing him the flat of your hand – your choice.
Now start by giving the chosen position command such as ‘sit’ and when he holds that position gives him loads of praise a small treat. Then, give him the verbal cue you’ve chosen, such as ‘Stay’, followed by the hand signal you’ve chosen. Take the hand signal away, and quickly reward your dog before they move. When you first start to teach your dog, he will probably try to move at first, as he doesn’t understand what you want him to do. Keep practising, but don’t make the sessions too long.
Once you can do this 5 times in a row, without your dog getting up before you have the chance to reward them, move on to the next stage.
Start by repeating the same steps. But now as you remove the hand signal, look away from your dog. Then give him his reward.
As eye contact is an anchor for your dogs’ attention, breaking it is a great way to test how well your dog is learning to stay. Once you feel your dog has mastered this stage, it’s time to move on.
To continue to teach your dog to stay, you will need to increase the time between command and reward. Check how long your dog can stay before you need to reward him. This time will obviously be different for each dog. Some dogs may only be able to tolerate a few seconds at a time. Others will cope with an increase of as much as 30 seconds.
Use this free Pet Planner to keep a record of your progress at building up the time span. If your dog continues to move, he could be that this stage has been too quick for him. Try going back to a lower time span and begin to increase the time again slowly.
As a rule, you will need your dog to successfully stay 5 times in a row before increasing the time.
Now it’s time to start putting a little distance between you and your dog while they stay. You’ll need to be confident that your dog can stay for at least a minute, and preferably for two minutes before you attempt this!
Now, as you ask for the stay command, take a step away from your dog. Within a few seconds, step back to him with his reward. Your dog may find it hard to stay with the distance you are asking of him. So, don’t increase the time too quickly, and take your time – your dog will learn quicker this way.
Once you feel your dog has achieved success with this command, you gradually increase the distance you move away from your dog. If he doesn’t appear to be progressing at this stage, you may need to begin by just shifting your body weight away from them instead. Get him used your body moving.
When you can move around your dog without him breaking the stay command, check if he’ll stay when you move out of his sight. Return quickly and reward him. If he’s doing OK, start adding distractions, like toys, or jumping and flapping your arms to test his impulse control.
When teaching your dog any new commands, build things up gradually, and if habits start to slip, go back, and build up again.
Once you feel your dog is confident at being asked to “stay” in a familiar environment, it’s now time to change the location and start the training again. You will need to teach your dog a release word, like ‘OK’ to let them know that they can leave the stay command. Make sure you return to your dog to let them out of the stay command. As calling him out of the command could confuse him.
There is no doubt that dogs are obedient friends to man. You must have a bond with your dog so that he can respond to you. He will learn faster and will want to obey your commands because he’ll want to please you. Making training your dog fun, with plenty of rewards a load of praise will help seal that bond and make it stronger.
Above, we discussed how you could teach your dog two basic commands. Sit and stay are the most fundamental commands. These commands hold several benefits. But to gain these benefits, you need to teach the commands properly. And the key to success is practice, and not forgetting to have FUN.
The more you train your dog, the more he will learn. Keep the training sessions smaller and productive. Always end on a high note. And never punish your dog. If he gets it wrong, it’s YOUR fault NOT his. If you’ve not given him the correct cue and training, he won’t understand what you want! Do not expect too much from your dog. Remember, at best, his intelligence is that of a smart two-year-old child. So, take his training calmly, slowly, and most of all, make it fun so he’ll look forward to his training sessions with you with great joy and anticipation.
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