Training a dog takes time and patience, but it pays off with years of good behavior. There are a few basic commands that every dog needs to learn right away, but many use similar training techniques. Before you get started training, invest in some small, tasty treats that you can use as a reward and gather your patience.
I fully believe in the value of positive reinforcement. You’ll get much better results by praising your dog for accomplishments rather than punishing for unwanted behavior. You also should avoid shouting at your dog or using a menacing tone. A gentle, loving approach works just as effectively. Here are a few basic commands and what you’ll need to know to get your beloved pet on track.
Many trainers start with “sit” and “down” for a reason. It’s a great way to teach a dog to remain in a fixed position for a short period of time. Ideally, your pet will eventually reach the point where if you say, “Sit,” he or she will stay in place even if a squirrel runs by. The key to “Stay” is in teaching a release. I recommend using a clicker to let your dog know when it’s okay to get up and move around again.
The “leave it” command prepares you to tell your dog to step back when he or she is approaching something undesirable. It could be a piece of litter at the park or your friend’s pet poodle. As with all training, success in training is all about teaching cause and effect. When your dog obeys the command, issue a treat, accompanied with praise. Soon you won’t have to use the treat. Praise will be enough.
Dogs will chew. It’s part of mouthing, a natural instinct for puppies. The command “Drop it” is ideal for getting your dog to drop something.
Through using positive reinforcement and gently-spoken commands, you can train your dog to provide years of great behavior. Although it takes a little patience in the early years, it will be well worth it later.
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