Dogs can find value in everything that they come across each day. We may walk past a stop sign and not even give it a...Continue...
One of the most important parts of being a responsible dog owner is making the time to master basic training techniques. Whether you’re beginning your training with a puppy, or a rescue who’s an older dog, getting it right definitely takes a lot of work.
Dogs thrive with consistency.
This means keeping up with a steady training schedule, and using repetition on each new exercise will be the key to your dog’s success.
Your temperament as a dog owner is also important. Remember to be patient with your dog’s progress and to use positive reinforcement methods while you teach your dog a new behavior. Your pet wants your approval, and if you can keep training light and upbeat it will help keep your dog stay engaged.
What You Need To Start Training
Aside from patience and a positive attitude, when you begin training your dog you’ll also need to set-up a dedicated space in your home free from distractions.
Your dog’s training environment at the start is going to be crucial. Setting the foundation for success depends on maintaining a stable environment that your dog identifies as the training space.
Training isn’t just about learning individual exercises. You’re training your dog’s brain as well. Repeating commands in the same place, around the same time provides your dog with a pattern of consistency that they can quickly adapt to.
You’ll also need the right gear. Keeping your pup on leash at first with plenty of tasty treats to help reinforce the behavior! Aim for small low value (kibble) or high value (hot dog/cheese) rewards. Try to use tiny portions to keep your dog wanting more, and to prevent them from getting too full too fast to stay engaged.
The easiest and most basic commands to start training your dog with are sit, stay, down, come, heel, and off.
The sit command is a common starting point when training your dog. This is the easiest of behaviors to train and the one I’m going to start with a new puppy.
The first step is to ensure you have your dog’s attention by calling their name. When they look up at you say “YES” and reward. For the sit you will hold the treat slightly above your dogs nose and slowly lift if back, as you see pups butt hit the ground, mark it with a “YES” and reward. be sure to pay ONLY if your dog says in the Sit position. If they start to stand up, do not pay and try again! Sit means Sit!
Teaching your puppy to stay, is the next basic command when you start training.
Begin by getting your dog in the sitting position. As you are standing right in front of your dog, say the word Stay and without moving back count off ONE second, then say the marker word “YES” and reward.
Step two: Ask for a sit, then say “Stay.”
This time take ONE step backwards, then immediately return one step forwards. If your puppy doesn’t stand up, say the word “YES” and reward.
From there add one extra step back each time and always reward for success.
If your dog is not able to stay/wait for you as you take two steps back, that’s okay. Stick to only one step away for the time being.
This exercise can be difficult since young or untrained dogs have very little impulse control. Be sure to keep the training easy at first and end each session on a good note!
One of the easiest ways to train your dog to “Down” on command is to start when it’s already in the sit position.
To start, hold a treat in your hand and bring it to your dog’s nose. Then slowly bring your hand, and your dog’s focus, straight down toward the floor When your dogs tummy is flat on the ground, mark the behavior with the word “YES” and reward with the high value treat.
Repeat this until your dog begins to show he/she understands, then you can start to introduce the word “down” as you bring their body to the floor. Once again keep this training to 5-10 mins and reward every sing time they get it right!
Keys to Success
Remember when it comes to new training, always reward your dog when they display the correct behavior. Treats are great incentive, but your dog also wants your approval so be sure to make this so much fun for them that they will be looking forward to the next training session!
Keep them happy and build up their confidence and you will be the best trainer that your dog could ask for.