HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOG: THE FIRST SIX COMMANDS EVERY DOG SHOULD KNOW
There are lots of training methods and philosophies that claim to be the fastest, easiest or most affective way to train your dog. The 1 thing that every dog training technique seem to mirror is that positive reinforcement and reward is the best. The next thing that all training methods have in common is that the first step is to teach the dog basic commands. These fundamental commands are the foundation of communication between canine and human.
The first command you should instruct is SIT. With a few slight differences, most advice about dog training agree. The simplest way to teach this command is to cause the desired outcome to occur without much work. For very young dogs, hold their food bowl over and behind their head. You reinforce by saying the control, SIT, then praise puppy and reward with a treat. Repeat this procedure during each meal time and with snacks until he will SIT on command without a food stimulus. Older dogs have better balance so an extra step may have to be used. Some dog training methods suggest having a leash with no slack to keep your dog still, then just using a treat held above and behind his head, command SIT. If your dog resists, use your forefinger and thumb to apply pressure before his hip bone or slide your hands over rump and apply pressure as you tuck legs and tail under to induce him to SIT.
The second command that you must train your puppy is NO. This control demands consistency from you, as the coach, and every member of the family. The NO command need to always be spoken in a sharp guttural tone and independently. Don’t use together with your dogs name, or in a panicked or high pitched tone which only comes naturally if you were to walk in and see your dog chewing your favourite pair of shoes. Your tone has to be authoritative sharp and strong to relay your displeasure. Withhold attention as punishment. Consistency is the trick to train your dog.
STAY is another control that every dog should know. Incorporate hand signals and put your open palm in front of dog’s nose. Say STAY and move before your dog to obstruct his forward movement. If he moves, replicate hand signal and STAY command. If he stays, move back next to him, make him hold his STAY for a couple of seconds, praise and treat. As with each dog training technique, continue to slowly increase increments of space and hold time with each training lesson. An additional element when training your puppy to STAY is the three D’s. Duration, Distraction, and Distance. As I just mentioned, it’s important to gradually increase the increments of Duration and Distance however Distraction has to be introduced to test your dogs comprehension of this command. Make certain to add distraction while training your dog before the space gets too long. Common distractions would be someone entering the training area with a toy, yet another dog walking by, etc..
DOWN command can be taught only after SIT is mastered. It’s important to use only the word DOWN. Your dog doesn’t understand variations such as Lay Down. You have to be consistent in training your dog that DOWN only refers to laying down. If you wish to teach your dog to get down from your chair, train OFF as your control. To teach your dog to lay down, first control him to SIT. With a treat, draw your dog into a laying down position by dragging the treat between his legs and moving it forwards. As you train your puppy each new command, make sure to combine each command so patterns do not develop and the action of each different control is rewarded when achieved. (SIT DOWN STAY), (SIT STAY COME), (SIT STAY DOWN)
Teaching your dog to HEEL makes walks in your neighborhood a pleasant experience. I am confident you have seen or experienced the owner that gets walked by their dog. The proprietor is fearful of each approaching human or animal since they have not been trained to HEEL. Your objective is that your dog will remain close to you on a walk. He won’t pull you or become too hard to control with the distractions of other dogs or humans. A good tip, exercise your dog with play prior to training to HEEL. Work out all excess power and train your dog in a quiet distraction free area. Start at SIT, utilize your dogs name and command HEEL. If your dog doesn’t stay with you and darts off, then turn from another direction and replicate command HEEL and dog’s name. Remember to always to praise and treat desired responses.
The last fundamental command that’s a must while starting to train your dog is the control COME. This command seems so simple, after all all dogs want to come to you, right? The issue with training your dog to COME is that owners do not use it often enough in daily interactions. Your dog will COME when you open the fridge door. The command has to be reinforced by placing your puppy in SIT and STAY, then by changing your location, control COME, and use your dog’s name. Praise and reward with every desirable outcome. One very important point to remember is NEVER correct or discipline your dog for responding to the COME command. The truth is that when you need your dog to react to COME the most is when his security is at risk. Your dog has run out and may be in danger of road traffic,. COME returns your dog to the safety of your home. Your fear response will instinctively make you want to correct your dog for running out. Remain consistent with your training, praise and reward your dog.
This is a really brief overview of training methods and sequences to use while training your dog the basic commands. The increase of distance and duration, as well as the introduction of distractions, will also require repetition. Patience and time will need to be committed while training these orders. I think you will find that in case you start to train your dog with these basic commands, you will discover the more technical training will be easier for both you and your dog.