There are certain basic commands every dog should know. Of course, teaching your pooch these commands can be beneficial in everyday situations, but it can also be helpful when you’re trying to correct a behavior problem. You could attend an obedience class with your dog, but you don’t have to. These four basic commands can be taught relatively easily right at home if you know how. And, best of all, it can even be fun for both you and your pooch!
Sit is a great first command to teach because it’s often the one dogs pick up the easiest. Start by holding one of your dog’s favorite treats in front of his nose. Slowly move your hand up. Your dog will follow the upward motion with his head, and his bottom will lower. When he sits down, say the command “Sit” and give him the treat and some love. Repeat these steps a few times each day until he has his new skill mastered. Once he’s got it down, you should make him sit while you put his leash on, before you give him his food or a treat, when you’re getting ready to cross the street, or any other time you want him to be calm.
Once your dog becomes an expert at “Sit,” it’s time to teach him “Stay.” Start by making him sit, then put your hand in front of you and tell him to stay. Now, back up a few steps. When he stays, reward him with a treat and some love. Gradually increase the distance, offering the reward every time he stays, even if it’s just for a few seconds. This one may take some time to master because it requires some serious self-control. Most dogs would much rather be on the move than just sitting there waiting.
Come is an essential command for your dog to learn for safety reasons. He should know always to come when you call him in case he accidentally gets loose. To teach the command, start by putting a leash and collar on him. Then, get down on his level, gently pull the leash and say “Come.” When he comes to you, offer some love and a treat as a reward. Once he’s got the skill mastered with the leash on, practice the skill in an enclosed area like a fenced in yard.
Down can sometimes be one of the more difficult commands to teach because it is a submissive posture. It’s important to keep the training session relaxed and positive, especially if you have an anxious or fearful pooch. Start by finding a treat that smells especially good to your dog. Hold the treat in your closed fist and then hold it up to your dog’s nose, much like you did when teaching “Sit.” This time move your hand down towards the floor. As your dog follows the treat down, slide your hand with the treat along the floor in front of him. Once he reaches the down position, say the command “Down” and reward him with the treat. To reinforce the command, repeat it a few times a day.
Knowing just these four basic commands can help to keep your pooch safer, so it’s more than worth the effort and time. The process will take patience and dedication, so don’t start a training session unless you’re in the right mindset to follow through in a positive way.