Basic Training Commands

There are several basic dog training commands that every dogshould know. These commands can help you manage several behavior problems andmay even save your dog's life.  

Spend 10 to 15 minutes several times a day training yourdog.  Any longer and your dog may getfrustrated.  Begin by using treats heloves.  To avoid confusing him make surehe understands a command before moving on to another command.  Also, make sure all family members use the same words for each command.  I start with treats when teaching Kirby anew command or trick.  Once he gets it I reinforce the behavior using a clicker which he responds to faster.  I also find it's faster to click at exactlythe right time than say the word.

There are several good books that can teach you the propertechniques but I strongly recommend training classes geared to your dog'sage ad aptitude.  Kirby has attended a puppy classand rally training class where he also benefited from socializing with otherdogs.  

Keep in mind some commands will be easy while others will take time for your dog to master.  Don't get frustrated and be sure to give commands now and then he can already do in order to earn a treat when he is trying to learn a difficult one.  Remember that your dog really wants to please you so keep his training fun.
  • COME  Training yourdog to come when called is one of the most essential basic commands your dog should learn.  With this command you canprotect your dog from a potentially dangerous situation by calling him to you.  In the beginning practice using a long leash gently pulling him to you as you say the word come.
  • DROP IT  Teaching yourdog to to let go of whatever is in his mouth on command is very important forhis safety and your peace of mind.  Itcan protect him when he has something dangerous in his mouth.
  • KENNEL UP  Cratetraining is a useful way to house train your dog or puppy.  It can be frustrating to get your dog intothe crate when you are ready to leave the house if he hasn't learned thiscommand. Traveling with your dog may also require using a crate when staying ina hotel or if you must fly.  Kirby stays in his kennel when I go to work.  It's his safe place.
  • LEAVE IT   Dogs tendto pick up anything they find on the ground. Teaching your dog this commandwill prevent him from picking up and eating something that might be harmful tohim.
  • DOWN  Teaching yourdog to lie down is very useful to help your dog calm down in a hectic situationor if you need him to stay in one spot since it is more comfortable for a dogto lie down rather than sit for a long period of time.
  • WATCH ME  This commandis used to get your dog’s attention. It's useful for when you need your dog to focus on you during eventslike dog obedience, dogs sports, and search and rescue.  Having your dog focus his attention on youcan divert his attention away from the things that bring out fearful oraggressive behaviors.
  • SIT  The sit commandis one of the easiest commands your can teach your dog since they tend to sitnaturally.
  • STAY  This command canprevent your dog from getting involved in dangerous situations.  It also allows you to keep your dog still andcalm when necessary.  For short staystell your dog to sit first.  For longerstays tell him to lie down which is a more comfortable position for him.  Start with 2 second periods of staying andgradually work up to several minutes.
  • WAIT  This command tells your dog to wait to move forwarduntil you release him.  It's helpful toprevent him from bolting out the door or from knocking you down in his rush toget out of his crate.
  • NO  Some people don't like this word.  I have even been told it hurts a dog's feelings.  However, it works for us.  I can say No in a firm voice and Kirby stops whatever it is I don't want him to do.
These commands can be reinforced in ordinary every dayevents.  For example Kirby must always do downbefore getting his meals.  He has to sitand wait before going outside. The list goes on.  Requiring him to do a command or trick firstshows him he has to earn what he wants.  The ultimate goal is to keep him safe and let him know I am his pack leader whichin turn gives him a sense of security.  Not to mention I prefer a good boy!