Anyone who has visited a house with an unruly dog knows it is not an enjoyable place to go. No one likes being jumped on, barked at, or having their belongings chewed on. That's why it's good to teach your dog basic commands.
There are a few necessities when teaching your dog any command: food or treats, patience, time, and quiet. The food is the dog's reward, so make sure it is something your dog really enjoys. Use patience and reward your dog for their efforts. Also, it can makes things easier to use the same words every time you give a command. For example, your dog could get confused if you say "come" sometimes and then say "come here" at other times.
Teaching Your Dog to Sit
Teaching your dog to sit is one of the easiest commands to teach. All you have to do is go to a quiet room in your home with your dog. Make sure to bring the treats! Let your dog smell the treat to get them interested. Then hold the treat above their head and move it backward. Your dog will instinctively sit so they can tilt their head back further to look at the treat. When your dog is sitting, give them the treat and lots of praise.
Repeat this process until you believe your dog has a good grasp of the command. Eventually you should have your dog sit in your yard, then on the sidewalk, then in a busy place such as a park. If your dog sits with a lot going on around you, you'll know they've grasped the command. After a while, you can stop giving your dog a treat every time. After a while, praise and pets can serve as the reward most of the time. Every dog loves a surprise treat, though!
Teaching Your Dog to Lie Down
There are a number of reasons you should teach your dog to lie down. It helps dogs relax after playtime, it can make your dog less intimidating to your friends, and your dog can lie down with you if you so choose. This command is best taught after the sit command has been mastered. That way you can have the dog sit and they only have two more legs to bend to be lying down.
First, have your dog in the sit position, then bring the treat down to the floor in front of your dog. Your dog’s head should follow the treat to the floor and cause them to lie down. If not, hold the treat in your fist on the floor until your dog does lay down. Then give them the treat. When you are ready for your dog to get up, say "ok." As always, repeat this until you are confident in your dog’s ability to respond to the command. An easy way to teach your dog to go lie down on their bed is to walk it over to the bed while saying "go to bed." When your dog is standing on the bed, tell them to lie down. Eventually you'll be able to stop walking your dog to the bed each time.
Teaching Your Dog to Come
Teaching your dog to come is an essential command. When you say "come," followed by your dog’s name, your dog should stop what they're doing and come to you the first time you say it. Always make your dog happy about dropping what they were doing to come to you. Easy ways to do this are to give a treat, go for a walk, or play with a toy. When first starting this command training, it is best to be in a fenced outdoor area. You will need a friend to help you with this one. Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, you should hold an extendable leash while your friend holds the dog. Put some distance between you and them, then turn around and say "come" and your dog’s name in a cheery voice. When your dog comes to you, give them a treat and a lot of praise. Remember: repeat, repeat, repeat!
Teaching your dog basic commands should be fun for you and your dog. Stay patient, and it can be very rewarding.
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