Dog Obedience Training for Beginners
Training your dog commands such as sit, lie down, stay, and come not only makes your job as a pet parent easier—it can also make a life-saving difference in a dangerous situation! Once you’ve learned how to properly implement obedience training at home, it will be a fun and useful activity for both you and your Cadet.
Learn the Basic Commands
Start simple with commands such as come, sit, lie down, and stay. These essentials will likely be used on a daily basis!
How to Train Your Dog to Come When Called
Although many owners start with the sit command, consider beginning with the come command. Teaching your pet to come to you is perhaps the most useful command for keeping your best friend out of harm’s way—and it’s one of the easiest to master.
Simply catch your dog in the act of coming toward you and say the word “come” as you offer them praise. You can also practice this command with a dog training lead in your backyard or in another outdoor space.
How to Train Your Dog to Sit
After your dog has mastered the come command, it’s time to teach them how to sit. After all, this command is a prerequisite for many others, and it’s especially effective in instilling good manners. For instance, an obedient dog who sits on command won’t jump on visitors!
To train your dog to sit, simply hold a dog treat near their nose and then raise it slowly above their head. Most dogs follow the treat with their eyes and nose, responding to this gesture by automatically moving into the sitting position. As soon as your dog starts to sit, say the word “sit” and offer the treat as a reward. Repeat this task many times to help reinforce the command.
How to Train Your Dog to Lie Down
Once your dog has learned to sit on command, they are ready to learn lie down. Begin by getting your best friend in the sitting position. Instead of moving the treat over them, lower it slowly in front of them. Your dog will respond by lowering their own body to reach the treat. As soon as your pup is in the down position, say the word “down” and offer them the treat. Avoid using the fuller phrase, “lie down,” as it is easier for dogs to learn single syllables.
How to Train Your Dog to Stay
A dog who knows how to sit and lie down can then learn how to stay. Along with down, the stay command is especially helpful for calming an excited dog.
To teach your dog this command, begin by getting them in the sitting position. Then, hold your palm outward, as if instructing them to stop. Say the word “stay” repeatedly for as long as your dog remains still. After a few seconds, move toward them and give them a treat for complying. Gradually increase the amount of time you wait before offering them the reward.
With some practice, most dogs can learn to stay for several minutes.
Use Positive Reinforcement
When it comes to dog obedience training, there are nearly as many different approaches as there are dog breeds. In all cases, however, the most important step is positive reinforcement. Heartfelt praise and an edible reward such as a dog biscuit will help them understand they have done what you wanted. Many dogs deeply enjoy pleasing their owners, and nearly all four-legged friends will work hard to earn a treat.
Strive to keep the tone positive throughout each training session. Avoid training your dog when you are in a bad mood, as pets are incredibly intuitive to human emotion. They might get a sense that something is amiss, which can quickly derail the entire training session.
Never yell at or punish your dog in any way for noncompliance when training. Keeping things positive will help ensure that your pet enjoys the training process. After all, a dog who has fun with training will want to keep learning. A dog who is yelled at can grow frustrated, making them harder to train.
Make a Training Schedule
Keep your dog’s training sessions brief, and bear in mind that all dogs need a break so they don’t become bored or distracted. While puppies have short attention spans and may only be able to focus on training for about five minutes at a time, older dogs could last 15 or 20 minutes before they’re uninterested with the task at hand. A little playtime or exercise with your dog between training sessions is a great way to keep them focused and reward them for their hard work.
You can train your dog every day and even several times throughout the day. You will likely see the best results from multiple, short daily training sessions. Dedicate at least five minutes of your day to training your dog, and you will both be on your way to becoming experts!
Use Professional Training
As you work on obedience training at home, you may wonder if you should enlist the help of a professional dog trainer. Enrolling in a training class with your dog is often a great way to begin the process, but it’s important not to rely on the trainer to teach your dog. A trainer’s job is primarily to teach the pet parent how to train their pet. By learning dog obedience training yourself, you can take the skills home with you and better connect with your best friend.
Taking part in a training class is also a smart way to socialize your dog. Meeting other dogs is as fun for your pet as spending time with other pet parents is for you. Plus, it gives your dog the opportunity to learn how to interact with other dogs in a positive way.
Moreover, a weekly class is a smart way to establish a training schedule. If you know you will attend a class each Wednesday evening, for instance, you may be more likely to make time for those daily practice sessions that the trainer assigns as homework.
Master Dog Obedience Training
As you and your Cadet conquer obedience training, you can move on to even more advanced tricks. With a little time, effort, and practice, your hard work will pay off!