The basic commands like stop, come, sit, and stay are extremely useful to have as a dog owner. Not only does it give you more control over your dog, the very process of training establishes you as the authority to be respected.
The process of training can also be a very positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your dog that allows you to bond and grow closer. Unfortunately, many owners assume it’s a challenging and time consuming process to do obedience training so they never do it.
We wanted to make this short guide to show you that it’s not that difficult. It does take patience and consistency but it doesn’t have to be stressful and it is certainly not impossible!
What Commands Should I Teach My Dog?
You can teach your dog just about any command you want but for basic obedience, we recommend working on the following:
- Sit. This is a pretty easy one to teach since your dog already knows how to sit. We recommend starting with this one since it’s easier and it will help quickly establish a relationship of respect.
- Down. This one is helpful and also pretty easy because your dog spends plenty of time lying down already. It also teaches him to be submissive to you.
- Stay. This is one of the most useful commands as it allows you to keep your dog safe and under control. It also teaches him to strengthen his self-control.
- Come. This is very useful command for keeping your dog out of trouble. It’s one of the more challenging commands relative to the rest but it’s still fairly simple.
- Stop or “Leave it.” This is useful for when your dog is getting into something he shouldn’t or doing something he shouldn’t. If you’re too far to physically stop him, being able to command him to stop is extremely useful and can save him from some dangerous situations his curious mind might get him into.
Tips for Dog Obedience Training
Follow these basic tips for teaching any of the commands above.
- Work on one command at a time. Don’t run through all the commands at once. Stick to one at a time. Although you can do multiple training sessions in a day where each session focuses on a different command.
- Use positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is only effective for stopping a bad behavior. With obedience training, you are trying to teach and encourage him to adopt a new behavior. For that, he needs motivation and reward is the best motivation.
- Find the right treats. As with humans, dog tastes differ. The treat that one dog thinks tastes like heaven will be bland and boring to another. Try out a few different treats at the beginning to see what your dog responds to the most. We find that meat and meat flavored treats are usually a pretty good bet.
- Make a schedule. Set up a schedule that you know you will be able to stick to consistently. It should include a minimum of one training session per day but you’ll see results much more quickly if you can fit 2 or 3 sessions in a day.
- Be firm but not mean. When you speak a command, you should do it firmly. Dogs pick up on tone more than the word itself so they need to hear it in a tone that assert your authority and command respect. But you don’t want to have anger in your voice because that will make your dog anxious and afraid.
- Don’t punish. Avoid punishment. You want training to be a fun experience that your dog looks forward to doing. And you should also keep in mind that he is learning a new behavior. So when he doesn’t do it, it’s not necessarily a sign of disobedience as a sign that he still doesn’t quite know what he should do.
There are a lot of great resources online that can help you develop a specific technique for dog obedience training. We like the techniques described on this site a lot for their simplicity and effectiveness.
The most important thing is to be consistent, be patient, and make training as enjoyable as possible. Even the most stubborn dogs will love to please their owner if they have the right motivation.