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Essential Dog Training Commands 

There are a handful of basic dog training commands that every dog or pup needs to know.... but Fido won't learn them without some help from you!

When you first bring your new puppy home he'll be operating purely on instincts and inclinations, and although these are perfectly designed for the doggie world, many of them are not such a great fit in the human one.

Basic dog obedience commands include:

To help your pup learn how to be a well-behaved and socially acceptable member of your family it's important to get some basic puppy training started right away.

Adult dogs who haven't learned basic manners and obedience are perfectly teachable, the only difference is that YOU will need more patience and they will need more practice, to get it right.

Belgian Malinois dog in training outdoors

A Few Words About Positive Training Techniques

A new puppy is like the proverbial 'blank slate' and he's desperate to please you... this means that teaching him basic dog training commands is easier now than it will ever be.

Sheltie puppy practicing 'Sit' command

Like human kids, puppies absorb their lessons quickly and completely and something that's been learned during the early months will never be hard-wired into his little brain!

Older puppies, adult dogs and even senior dogs are usually just as eager to learn as puppies, and they need the same level of positive training techniques.

Regardless of age, always use positive reinforcement.. that means rewarding Fido when he is successful and ignoring his failures.

never punish your pup/dog when training!

Your dog is always trying to please you and if he doesn't 'get it' then you're most likely at fault (you're not explaining/showing what it is you want clearly enough).

Most pups and dogs respond best to a tasty treat reward, but some will be equally motivated by praise, or a short 'playtime' with a favorite toy.

Teaching The 'Sit' Command

Learning to 'Sit' is one of Fido's first lessons.

You can start teaching your new puppy to 'sit' pretty much right away (although you do want to give him a couple of days to settle in before he starts being home-schooled)

Whether he's an 8 week old puppy or an 8 year old dog, your pooch should be able grasp this very basic dog training command as long as you follow a few simple steps, are patient, and practice regularly.

It's literally as easy as 1-2-3

Click here to get started on teaching your dog to 'Sit'

Teaching The 'Down' Command

This command is the natural next-step after teaching 'sit', and although it's a little trickier most puppies and dogs 'get it' pretty quickly.

When teaching the down command you are encouraging Fido to lie down by using a treat to lure him into the down position.

It's as straightforward as teaching him to sit, you just need to know how to move the treat and what to do to encourage a puppy who is confused about what you want.

Older puppies, dogs and the most dominant puppies sometimes take a little longer to settle into the 'down' position as it's a submissive pose and they may not be comfortable with it right off the bat.

The key to success is gentle, firm consistency and praise for the correct behavior.

Get started on teaching the 'Down' command

Teaching The 'Stay' Dog Training Command

As with the first two lessons, teaching the 'Stay' command is the natural next-step after 'Sit' and 'Down'.

Basically what you're doing here is to help your pooch learn that 'stay' means you expect him to stay put, in one spot (and in one position), for a certain length of time even when you walk away from him.

Retreiver practicing down-stay command

This can be especially difficult for young puppies because their natural instincts are to stay right beside you.

But when you take it slowly and carefully Fido will soon understand what you want him to do and realize that it's okay not to be right next to you at all times.

Adolescent pups and older dogs usually have more confidence and more patience and learn the 'stay' command fairly quickly.

Once he has mastered the stay, you can ask your puppy or dog to stay in a sitting position, or in the down position, depending on the situation. Down-stays are best once his training is advanced enough to leave him in that position for an extended amount of time.

Click here to get started on 'Stay'

The All-Important 'Recall' or 'Come' Command

Your goal here is to make sure Fido understands and obeys the command to 'Come' - immediately and consistently. This is also called the 'Recall'.

It's another of the most basic dog training commands, but it's one that can take a long time for your puppy, or dog, to be reliable about obeying.

However, it's definitely worth the time and patience to teach it properly because obeying your call to 'Come' means that your pooch will be safer at all times, especially when you're outdoors.

It also means that he will have more freedom, and you will have peace of mind.

There is one big tip that will help you teach the recall faster, and more effectively - make certain that when you say 'Fido, come!' , he doesn't have any other option but to obey. Learn more...

Click here to get started with the 'Come' command

Teaching The 'Leave It!' Command

Puppies get hold of all sorts of odd stuff, and as far as they're concerned everything is edible until proven otherwise.. that's just one reason why the 'Leave It' command is sooo useful.

Dogs (and puppies for that matter) might pick up random stuff on walks, or refuse to give up their toys.. or your socks, or whatever else they've got hold of.

The Leave It! command simply teaches your pup that he needs to give up whatever it is he's got in his mouth, is playing with (or trying to hide/sit on etc.) when you say the word... actually, two words :)

It's also a good way to make sure your pup doesn't develop the bad habit of resource or food guarding which isn't just annoying, but can be dangerous too.

Click here to get started with the 'Leave It' command

Dog Training Commands - See How It's Done

When you're learning how to do something new it often really helps to see how to do it as well as reading about it.

Below I've added a great video that will walk you through teaching your puppy some basic dog training commands such as the 'Sit', 'Stay' and 'Down' that I talk about above.

The principle and process is the same for puppies and dogs of all ages. 

Bear in mind that all professional dog trainers, and long-time dog owners, may have slightly different styles of training due to their own individual experiences but the basic principles of positive dog training techniques are the same.

Once you know your dog and have some practice under your belt you'll also be able to adapt what you've learned to teach him a whole host of other things.

'Fetch' is more of a fun command than an essential, but most dogs learn it really quickly and enjoy retrieving just about anything!

If you'd like to teach your pup or dog to 'Fetch', take a look at this video..... it shows you how to do just that, and have fun at the same time!

Clicker Training 

Clicker training is a straightforward and fun way to teach dog obedience commands to a puppy, or a dog of any age. It can be used to train horses, birds and other pets/animals too.

Dog watching owner during clicker training session

You can find out everything you need to know about using a 'clicker' to train your pup or dog by visiting my Puppy Clicker Training page

A Little Extra Help Never Hurts!

If you'd like a more in-depth look at training techniques and to get some 'trouble-shooting' help or some extra tips and advice then I'd recommend buying one of these great DVD's...

Puppy Training DVD

With this book/dvd combination you'll find that  'Fun, effective and easy puppy training'  is easier to manage than you might have thought.

Well written, with a breezy, friendly down-to-earth approach, the book tells you exactly how to raise and train a happy, well adjusted dog... and the dvd SHOWS you how to do it.

Get the whole family involved (including the kids) by encouraging them to watch the DVD and then practice the training techniques they've learned.

Puppy/Dog Training DVD's

Here are three wonderful dog training DVD's. Each one has a slightly different style,  but all of them support positive training methods that rely on communication, praise and rewards.

There's bound to be one that fits you and your dog....

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