Training Your Dog The Most Essential Commands

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Training Your Dog The Most Essential Commands

by Michael Russell

The most important commands you'll teach your dog are the sit, stay and come commands. These lessons will require effort by you, the owner to teach your dog to understand these commands, but the rewards are worth it. When you first acquire your dog or puppy, you need to establish yourself as the pack leader, the absolute alpha dog (or dogette!). Dogs aren't democratic creatures. They need an absolute leader in order to feel comfortable and secure within their social rank. That's where you, the owner comes in. You will be the undisputable boss, lay down the rules and follow through with praise or punishment. You are not a tyrant. You are a fair and just leader. A puppy or young dog doesn't need harsh punishment. He is just learning the commands and we use punishment and praise to shape him into understanding the tasks and be willing to do them. A stern NO and quick jerk of the leash is all that's needed for punishment. We are going to use positive reinforcement for these exercises, which is praise, praise and more praise for tasks that are done correctly. Treats in conjunction with praise are also a good idea, since it helps to speed up the training process.

For our purposes, the equipment you will need is a slip chain collar and a six foot leather lead. Having the slip collar on the dog will remind him that he is in school. The slip collar MUST be put on the dog correctly, or it won't work and could harm the dog. The way to put on a slip chain collar correctly is to first slip the chain through itself and then make a P with the collar. Stand in front of the dog and slip the collar over his head. ALWAYS remove the collar after training, since he could get it caught on something and choke while you're not there.

Let's start with the sit command, since we will build the other lessons on this one. Put the collar and leash on your dog and have him on your left side. Have a tasty treat with you. Put your left hand on his hind end with your thumb and forefinger around his back. In your right hand, hold a treat and have the leash close to the dog and taut. At the same time, gently pull the taut leash upwards with the treat above his head and squeeze and push down on his hind end giving the command SIT. Make him sit and when he does, wait a second and then praise him and give him the treat. Repeat this several times a day every day for a week. He should learn to sit by the verbal command alone after a week's training. If he doesn't sit, just train him for a little longer every day. The sit normally comes relatively easy for most dogs, so you shouldn't have too much trouble.

The next command will be the stay. Put your dog in the sit position at your left side. Move your right foot a quarter of a turn and tell him STAY in a firm voice. Do not use his name in this lesson. Move back where you were after a couple of seconds and praise. Gradually repeat this exercises turning with more steps until you can stand right in front of him while he stays. Always praise him after you return to your original position. Repeat this every day for a week until he is reliable.

The next lesson you will teach your dog is to come. Your dog should be reliable on the sit-stay by now. Put him in this position, tell him to stay and walk about three to four feet in front of him. Tell him COME! in a happy voice and run backwards several steps. If he doesn't come, give a slight jerk on the leash (DO NOT PULL!) and repeat the command and run backwards a couple of more steps. When he does come to you give him lots of praise and a treat. Repeat this lesson as long as it takes to get him reliable, gradually moving further away from the dog until you're at the full six foot length of the leash. Your dog should catch on easily to this exercise since most dogs love to run to their beloved owner to receive praise and treats.

These three exercises are the basic foundation on which to build in order to teach your dog more commands such as down, heel, get it, etc. There are plenty of good dog obedience books on the market today if you wish to continue your dog's training. You can also go to for loads of information. Even if you don't continue your dog's training, these simple lessons outlined here once learned, will give you an obedient dog, a strong bond between you two and lots of satisfaction!

Michael Russell

Your independent guide to Dog Training

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

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