Training your dog with basic commands can affirm human leadership and build a bond of obedience and trust between people and their dog. An obedient dog is also more enjoyable to be around. However, don’t rely on obedience training as being a ‘safeguard’. Obedience training teaches behaviour; it doesn’t always deal with misbehaviour.
The importance of consistency and persistency cannot be stressed enough. Make sure everyone in the family follows the same rules all the time because it’s very confusing for the dog if everyone teaches it something different. Dogs are much happier when they know what good behaviour and bad behaviour is. Dogs need to be clear about what we expect of them.
Basic obedience should include verbal commands like sit, stay, down (lie down), no and come.
Training sessions are more fun and more effective when they are short and often. Depending on the age and attention span of the dog you could do two or more sessions a day and make each one 5 minutes long.
Reward your dog with verbal praise, physical touch and the odd healthy treat.
Dogs don’t know right from wrong. Their behaviour is guided by instinct and what they learn to do. They will repeat things that give them pleasure and avoid things that cause discomfort.
Praise or reward the behaviour you want rather than punishing the behaviour you don’t want. When you discipline for the wrong behaviour the dog still doesn’t know what the right behaviour is. Distract or ignore the wrong behaviour.
If you want to praise or verbally reprimand a dog’s behaviour you must catch the dog in the act so to speak. If you wait longer than 2 or 3 seconds a dog won’t know what it was doing right or wrong. It’s pointless reprimanding a dog for something it did 1 minute, one hour or one day ago because there is too much time in between the behaviour and the praise/reprimand.
…when and if to pat your dog
…when playtime starts and ends
…if your dog greets friends, strangers and other dogs
- Make sure your dog obeys your commands immediately.
- Use the “down” or “lie down” commands often.
- Do not carry your dog or puppy.
- Do not make a fuss of arrivals or departures.
- Feed your dog at regular times. Remove the bowl after 20mins.
- Decide if your dog is to sleep inside or out and stick to it.
Start your obedience training early.
Puppies can begin learning basic commands from the time you get it at 8 weeks of age. Be patient while training your dog. Don’t lose your temper or shout at your dog if it does something wrong. Dogs have very good hearing and a firm voice is all that is needed. Remember that obedience training can take time; be persistent and consistent until the dog learns what you teach it.
Children can also learn and use basic verbal commands.
Don’t allow children or adults to pull at a dog’s leash or physically force it to do anything. It is better and safer to teach the dog to respond to verbal commands.
Train your dog to walk properly on a leash.
Your dog needs to walk at your side; it’s you that takes him for a walk not the other way round.