There is a difference between a dog that is well trained and a dog that is well balanced. Just because your dog knows some commands, it won’t necessarily be a well behaved dog. That being said, teaching your dog some commands can be useful in solving issues with behavior.
Dog training, why do it?
As written above, this can be a very rewarding process for both yourself and your pet. To be honest, training your dog needs to be at the very top of your priorities when you first get your pet. It’s almost compulsory for your dog to understand what is right and wrong and to fit within the wider community.
The classic saying, ‘old dogs can’t learn new tricks’, is actually not true at all. There are training classes available for all types of dogs, young, old pedigree, cross and rescue as well. You just have to be extremely patient and be willing to learn as well. If you follow this process, you will find yourself bonding closer and closer with your dog.
Another point of training your dog is socialisation. You have to get it used to being around other people, other dogs, and being in strange environments. The more comfortable it is with the more people and places, the less chance it will have of becoming stressed and scared. If it becomes stressed or scared, there’s a high probability that some natural instincts will emerge, breaking any ground rules you may have set.
Whilst it is recommended if you can to try out a dog training class, plenty of people do it themselves. If you want to have a go at training your dog yourself, below are 5 of the most important commands for your dog to know.
5 commands all dogs should know
This command needs to be taught after your dog has learnt to sit when asked. To teach it follow the below steps:
- Get your dog to sit
- Issue the command, ‘stay’, whilst you open your hand in front of you, palm facing your dog
- Begin to move backwards away from your dog. Positively reinforce your dogs behaviour if it stays in place
- Over time, increase the distance between yourself and your dog before rewarding the treat
- To make sure your dog enjoys the process, always rewards them, particularly a puppy. Even if it was just a momentary stay.
This command really tests your dog’s self-control. This being the case, it could take a long time for your dog to understand what is needed of it. This can take an even longer time for puppies and dogs with a lot of energy.
Another indispensable command for your dog’s safety. Sometimes, smell just isn’t enough and your dog will want to eat something it shouldn’t. What you’re trying to teach your dog here is that by leaving what they are curious about, they will be rewarded with something even better. To teach your dog how to do this, follow the below steps:
- Put a treat in each of your hands
- Show your dog one of your hands with a treat in it. Say the command, ‘leave it’
- Ignore all attempts of your dog to get the treat within the closed fist
- When your dog eventually stops, reward with the treat from the other hand
- Keep doing this until your dog has learnt to move from the first fist when you say, ‘leave it’
- The stage after this, reward the treat only once your dog has moved from the first fist and then look up at you
This is the first stage of the process completed. Moving on from here, the next stage is to use two different rewards for your dog. One that is ok and another that it loves.
- Issue the command, ‘leave it’, and put the not so nice treat on the floor. Then cover it with your hand
- With patience, wait until your dog no longer wants the treat and looks towards you.
- Take that treat from the ground and reward with the nicer treat, alongside positive reinforcement
- After this has been learnt gradually expose more and more of the less tasty treat to your dog, testing the will power
- Eventually you should be able to stand up away from the treat
Stay patient with your dog throughout this process, it’s a very trying experience for them. But with time, it will learn to follow your commands.