Did you know that training your dog actually improves their quality of lives? Dog training is rewarding for a number of reasons.
- It strengthens the bond between yourself and your dog.
- It ensures your dog is safe in emergencies.
- It helps to correct bad behavior, like jumping, chewing and digging.
- And, it’s super fun!
Teaching your dog basic obedience is fundamental, so break out the treats and master these basic commands.
Most people train this command at home, but teaching the “sit” command is actually most effective outside, during walks. On walks, dogs are prone to dragging their owners toward anything that catches their attention. This is okay if they’re just looking to smell some bushes, but not okay when another person or animal is venturing toward you. The ASPCA recommends using treats to encourage your dog to sit when people and animals pass by.
They say, “If your dog is sitting, she won’t be dragging you toward the people, jumping up when they get close enough, mouthing on their arms and legs, and so on.”
The “Leave It” command can save your dog’s life. Imagine your dog happens upon something poisonous on your regular neighborhood walk. If your dog has been trained to “leave it,” the dog isn’t going to ingest anything harmful. Expert dog trainer Joseph Biggins Jupiter recommends you begin training by placing a treat in a closed fist and then place your fist in front of your dog’s mouth. Wait. Your dog will attempt to figure a way into your hand, but no part of the treat should be visible.
Jupiter advises, “Just have patience and wait until the dog moves his or her nose away from your hand. When the dog moves away, click or say ‘yes’ and open your hand to reward the dog.”
Once your dog has mastered not sniffing, pawing and licking your closed fist, you can add the words “leave it.”
The stay command is essential for obvious reasons. You don’t want your dog running into your neighbor’s lawns or running into burning buildings. Your dog has an instinct to chase the things it wants, even if the direction leads someplace dangerous. The stay command can save your dog’s life.
This command is simple to teach. Have your dog sit. Stand on her left side and hold her collar. Say the command, “Stay.” Wait ten seconds. If she attempts to stand or move say, “No, stay.” Feel free to insert her name in the command. Once she’s successfully held the position for ten seconds, give her a treat and say, “Good stay.”
“Wait” is a lot like “stay.” This command is typically taught after the dog has mastered the “stay” command. “Wait” is often used at the front-door, to keep your dog from rushing out. This command keeps your dog immobile, until you give them a command to move, like by saying “move” or “go.”
The ASPCA recommends beginning training this by having your dog “follow the treat.” This means calling your dog over to the place you’d like them to wait. Stand and say, “Go to your spot.” Toss the treat into the spot, once the dog is there. Then you can encourage your dog to wait longer and longer for the treat.
It’s going to take time, but mastering these four basic commands are going to improve the relationship you have with your dog and keep her safe. Her safety and your sanity are important for cultivating a healthy relationship, so take a few minutes each day to practice.