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How to Train Your Dog: Essential Commands and Tips

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Dogs are amazing. They are friendly and protective and so long as you put the time and effort into it, you can train them basic commands. A well-trained dog is considered more sociable. Basic training is considered your dog’s basic needs, something that you should address as soon as possible. 

 


You’re probably reading this article because you are rather overwhelmed with the idea of training your first dog. Maybe you’ve never trained dogs and you don’t really have a good idea of how to go about doing it. Truth be told, training your dog is an enormous task. It isn’t a simple and easy project that you can complete in a day. It takes plenty of time, effort and patience to train your dog. 

 


It is best to take it step by step which will make the task of training your dog less overwhelming. Start with simple commands that will be easy for your dog to follow and then once they have those grounded, move to more complicated commands. 

 

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Adult Dog or Puppy, Which is Better to Train?

Training puppies can be substantially easier than training an adult dog for the simple reason that puppies have not learnt any of the bad habits and behaviours that many adult dogs have. 

 


Training adult dogs is more time consuming and is considered a more difficult task. Adult dogs have established their habits, which makes it harder for them to break away from these habits. On the other hand, puppies are so new to the world that they are able to quickly learn the commands and tricks that it is being taught. 

 


That being the case, some dog owners find it easier to train older dogs considering the fact that these dogs have more self-control.

 


What is important is that you keep training your dog with age and make it a form of mental stimulation that is structured to sharpen your dog’s mind. If you are dealing with a puppy, don’t wait until the puppy is older to train it, start training at a young age and you can expand on the training with time.  

 

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Essential Dog Commands

When it comes to training dogs, teaching them essential tricks and essential commands will make it much easier for you and your pooch to get along. These essential dog commands can be a great way to break the ice. Don’t start with too many of these commands. Instead, start with one command, master it and then expand to another command. 

 


These essential commands are the basic commands that every dog should be taught. It is great mental stimulation and enforces good behaviour and habits. 

 


Sit

Teaching your dog to sit is probably the first thing that you should consider doing. It is one of the most basic commands that are easy enough for the pup to learn and is a great way to start training your pooch. 

 


Teaching your dog to sit is a great way to calm your dog. It will become easier for you to control your dog. It also lays the groundwork for more complicated commands such as ‘come’ and ‘stay’

 

How to Train

In order to teach your dog the ‘sit’ command, simply hold a treat close to your dog’s nose. You then way to move your hand upwards, allowing your dog to follow the treat upwards, causing them to raise their head and lower their bottom. Once, your dog is in a sitting position, say ‘Sit’ and give your dog the treat and shower him with some loving affection. 

 


You want to repeat this as many times as it takes till your dog masters it. Once he has mastered the command, when you say ‘sit’ your dog should take the sitting posture, holding a calm and seated position. You can try this command before a meal or even before walks to keep your dog calm and ready. 

 


Come

Just the way you want your dog to sit and stay calm, you also want your dog to come to you when you ask them to. The ‘come’ command is an extremely helpful command, especially if you leave the front door open and your dog starts running around the front yard. 

 


It is an easy enough command to teach and will work to keep your dog safe in times of trouble. 

 

How to Train

In order to teach them this command, you want to put a collar and leash on your dog. You want to go down to their level and gently pull on the leash as you say ‘come.’ They will slowly move towards you and when they do, you can reward them with a treat and shower them with a bit of affection. 

 


You want to first train this command on a leash and continue to practice in enclosed spaces without the leash. Do not try it outdoors, until your dog has had enough training and the opportunity to properly master the command. 

 


Down

This is a rather difficult command for a dog to master for the sole reason that it requires the dog to hold a submissive posture. Hence, it is important that you maintain a positive and relaxed environment, especially if you have a fearful or anxious dog on your hands. 

 


Do not forget to praise your dog and show some affection when they get the command right. This is very important to reinforce the good behaviour leading to effective training. 

 

How to Train

For this command, you would want a good smelling treat. Keep the treat in a closed fist and hold your fist to your dog’s snout. Allow your dog to start sniffing the treat and slowly move your hand to the floor and allow your dog to follow. You want to then slide your hand along the ground, to encourage his body to follow his head towards the down position. Once he is in the down position, simply say ‘Down’ and reward him with a treat and show him some affection. 

 


Since this is a harder command to learn, you want to repeat the training every day. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to obstructive or wrong behaviour. For instance, if your dog sits up or lunges towards your hand, say ‘No.’ Though you can say ‘no’ you don’t want to push him into a submissive posture but rather encourage him to take the steps to hold the right posture. It isn’t easy for your dog to figure it out, so give it some time. 

 

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Stay

This is another command much like the ‘sit’ command, that will make it easier for you to control your dog. It is a great command to ensure your dog stay in a particular place. It is great when you don’t want your pooch overwhelming guests and can be perfect when you trying to keep the pooch away to clean the house. 

 


It is important that your dog understand the ‘sit’ command very well before you try teaching them the ‘stay’ command. If they haven’t mastered the ‘sit’ command, practice that command and perfect it first before you consider teaching them the ‘stay’ command. 

 

How to Train

When your dog is ready, ask your dog to ‘sit.’ Open your palm in front of you and then say ‘stay’ as you take a few steps back. If your dog stays, even for a few seconds, reward him with a treat and affection. Slowly increase the length by increasing the number of steps you take before giving him the treat. 

 


It takes a bit of self-control for your dog to master this command. Hence, don’t be surprised if it takes a bit of time for your dog to understand and master it. Puppies in particular simply do not have the patience to stay and can take more training to master the command. Most dogs prefer being on the move rather than staying in one place. Hence, getting them to stay isn’t an easy thing to do. 

 


Leave It

This is a useful command to keep your dog safe. For instance, your dog may smell something intriguing on the ground that could be dangerous. The aim of this command is to get them to walk away from whatever it is that has caught their attention and ignore it. 

 

How to Train

In order to teach your dog this command, place a treat on both your hands. Show him the treat from one of your hands and say ‘Leave it.’ You should ignore any behaviour to get that treat from your hand such as licking, sniffing, pawing or barking. Once he stops trying, you can give him the treat from the other hand. You want to repeat until your dog begins to move away when you say ‘leave it.’ Next, you want to train your dog to look at you when he moves away, so only give him the treat if he looks at you as he moves away from the first fist. 

 


Once you have trained him with the basics of the command, you are ready to take the command to the next level. For this, you need two treats, one that is good smelling and not so tasty, while another that is good smelling and tasty.

 


You want to leave the less tasty treat on the floor and cover it with your hand. Allow your dog to ignore that treat and look at you. You want to then remove that treat and give him the better treat and show him some affection. You want to then repeat this with your hand not entirely covering the treat, the trick is to move your hand further upwards until you are about 6 inches above the treat and finally the treat as fully exposed. When you feel like your dog is ready, try practising standing up. Follow the same steps and if your dog tries to snatch the less tasty treat, cover the treat with your feet. Remember, to use the command ‘leave it’ as this will train your dog as to what they should do when they hear the words. 

 


Remember, training your dog isn’t an easy task that can be completed in one day. It takes time, effort and a whole lot of patience. Give your dog the time that is necessary to learn the commands and don’t try more complicated commands until you have the basics in place. 

 

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How to Train Your Dog to Rollover?

In order to teach your dog to rollover, your dog would have to have mastered the down command first. The first thing that you want to do is get your dog to hold the down position in front of you. 

 


Next, you want to kneel beside your dog and hold a good smelling treat to the side of your dog’s head near the nose. You want to then move the treat from the nose towards the shoulder, allowing them to roll flat on their side. You want to praise them and treat them every time they lie flat on their side with their head on the floor. You want to then continue to moving a treat from their shoulder to their backbone as they lay flat. This will cause them to roll on the back. Continue to move the hand with the treat to allow them to roll onto the other side. When they have followed the treat all the way through the rollover position, use the verbal cue ‘Rollover’ to enforce training. 

 


Slowly reduce the hand motion and treat lure and allow your dog to do the trick only on verbal cue. Remember to always praise and treat them for hard work. 

 

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How to Train Your Dog to Pee Outside?

The best way to train your dog to pee outside is by taking it outside on a frequent basis. You want to take your dog outside at least every two hours. Make sure to take your dog out for a walk as soon as you wake up. You may even want to take your dog out during and after playing or even after eating or drinking. 

 


When training your dog to pee outside, you want to pick a bathroom spot and always take your pooch to the spot and hold them around the spot on a leash. Give your dog some time and when they do pee at the spot, reward them with a treat. 

 


You want to try to take your dog to this spot every time it has to pee. This will train your dog to pee at a particular spot and also enforce good behaviour of not peeing indoors. 

 


It can typically take you between 4 to 6 months to fully house train your puppies and dogs. Smaller dogs will have smaller bladders and will require more frequent bathroom visits, while larger dogs will not require to be taken to the bathroom spot as often. 

 

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Lease Training Your Dog

If you are taking your dog on walks, then the leash is very important to ensure the safety of your dog. Without a leash, your dog could run away. Hence, leash training is a good way to train your dog to walk on a leash. 

 


You want to first introduce your dog to the collar and leash. When it’s time to go on a walk and wear the leash, try teaching them a command with a verbal cue so they know to prepare for the leash. Having your dog trained with the ‘sit’ command could be a great way to keep your dog calm as you place the lease on them. 

 


Before you take your dog on the leash outside, you want to practice inside. When you are placing the lease on your dog, it is important that you allow your dog to come to you, so that you aren’t wrestling the leash on your dog. This is why basic commands such as ‘come’ and ‘sit’ are important. 

 

Remember, it isn’t difficult training your dog to the leash. However, you should be mindful to not force the leash on them. Instead, keep your dog calm and you may even consider making a game of it. 

 

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Clicker Training For Dogs

A clicker is a tool also known as a marker that is used in effective and efficient positive reinforcement training. The clicker allows a command to be repeatedly associated with a treat or reward enabling the clicker to become a conditioned reinforcer. 

 


Clicker training allows your dog to repeat behaviour that gets them what they want. It works to reward your dog for the behaviours that you see. For instance, you could give them a treat for giving you a paw. This way, your dog is more likely to give you a paw in the future when they hear the click. 

 


A clicker is simply a small noisemaker that trains the dog to do a particular thing when they hear the noise. The noise is usually followed by a treat, which is what reinforces the behaviour. Soon, they will train themselves to act on the click without the need for a treat. 

 


It can be a great tool used in training dogs and can have an incredible effect on how your dog chooses to behave. 

 

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Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training allows you to limit the access your dog has to the house, by limiting their space to a crate. It allows you to train your dog without having to worry about your dog eliminating everywhere or chewing everything. 

 


A crate can also be a great way to transport your dog in a car. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, it will think of the crate as a safe place and will be happy to spend time in there when needed. 

 


Crates come in different sizes and can be purchased at many pet supply stores. It should technically be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. 

 


When crate training, you don’t want to go too fast. You want to slowly introduce your dog to the crate and put a soft blanket or towel on the crate floor to make it welcoming. Talk to your dog in a soothing voice and get them to stay in the crate. You don’t have to close the door, just allow your dog time to get used to the crate.

 


You want to then start feeding regular meals near the crate which will produce a pleasant association. If your dog is readily entering the crate, you may even want to serve your dog’s meal inside the crate. 

 


Once your dog is used to eating meals inside the crate, you want to try conditioning your dog to be in the crate for a longer period of time. Use commands to get him to enter the crate and close the door and leave the room for about 10 minutes. Check back every 10 minutes to ensure that there is no fear or anxiety. Slowly increase the interval of time to about 30 minutes and soon you would be able to allow them to sleep in the crate for the night. 

 


Crate training could take days and even several weeks, hence don’t try to rush the process. Allow your dog to get accustomed to the crate and used to it, enabling a smoother transition to the crate. 

 


The crate isn’t a magical solution and should not be overused. Don’t allow your dog to spend too much time in the crate because this could lead to a trapped feeling of frustration. Don’t crate your dog all day and all night, allow it some time away from the crate to accommodate physical and emotional needs. 

 

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To Conclude

Dogs are a man’s best friend and training them can be fun and exciting. Though it isn’t as simple as getting it done in one day, training can be great mental stimulation for your dog, something they benefit from in the long run. 

 


Though training your dog may be overwhelming, if you follow the directions we have mentioned, you should be able to train your dog the essential basic commands that every dog should know. Further to this, you should be able to train them to the lease and crate and also potty train them to ensure that they don’t go to the bathroom inside the house. 

 


These are the basic and essential elements of training that are required for most dogs. Remember, even if you are dealing with a puppy, start training them. They can learn basic commands at a young age and will have more to gain from being trained in the long run. 

 


We hope this article was useful and that reading this word to word has helped you better understand how to go about training your pooch. We aimed to provide you with a basic set of training tips that should prepare your dog well for life. So long as you cover all the elements of training from within this article, your dog will be well-trained and very well behaved. 

 


Happy Training!

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