How to train your dog: the basic commands

  How to train your dog: the basic commands

Educating your dog is essential from an early age: this can save you a lot of trouble during walks in particular and during the socialization phase. In addition, working on obedience can strengthen the bond with your animal and facilitate your "life together".

Far from being a chore for him, learning is also a source of pleasure for the dog, who by nature likes to satisfy his master and spend time with him. So you might as well make smart use of the time you devote to it! Here are some tips to start working on his obedience, and the steps to follow to instill in him the basic orders, an essential step in his education: once acquired, they will be a precious asset for him and for you.

When to start education?

You can start teaching the basic commands immediately upon acquiring the dog. Besides the advantage of teaching him "good manners", the essential function of training is to set limits for your puppy and help him understand what you expect of him. This increases the mutual trust between the dog and his master and can avoid many inconveniences often linked to misunderstandings because the small dog does not yet know – and cannot guess – what is right and what is wrong. For example, he is unable to tell the difference between biting his toys and biting your feet or your shoes!

It often happens that young dogs are destructive, through play or lack of attention, or even that they are abrupt: faults that we forgive them when they are babies... But which can cause problems when the dog is an adult. Thus, jumping on visitors or barking untimely are behaviors that education can avoid. “Prevention is better than cure” sums up dog training well, because the sooner you start, the better your dog will listen and the less you will have to correct him later. Keep in mind that bad habits are the hardest to break.

The reminder

This is the number one command to teach your dog if you ever plan to release him outside. And what a pleasure to see him evolve in freedom knowing that you will be able to bring him back at the slightest misstep! Indeed, the recall is the most useful of the commands and it can also save the life of the dog in certain situations, just like the "stop". Mastering these commands allows you to feel calm when you are outside with your dog, and prevents each outing from turning into a chase... To teach recall, it is important to start in a place where the puppy does has no distractions.

You must have chosen the word you will use: it must always be the same, "here" or "come" for example. Take some treats with you and make him sit up – if he doesn't know "sit" yet, you can help him by pushing on his hindquarters. Then step back little by little, crouch down a few meters further, and give the order to rappel in an enthusiastic tone. Reward when he comes to you and don't be afraid to overdo it to show him that you're satisfied. Repeat the exercise regularly, until it works even without treats.

The "sit" command

Just like the "lying", it allows to immobilize the dog and capture his attention. Take a treat and hold it above his nose: the dog will naturally raise his head to look at it. Put your other hand on his rump and press lightly so he sits down, which he should do automatically and say "sit" at the same time. Reward him warmly with a cheerful voice, and repeat the operation every day.

The "down" order

Once he has learned to sit, you can teach your dog to "down". When he is in a sitting position, take his front legs and gently pull them forward giving the command "down". We can encourage the movement by presenting a treat in front of his nose and giving it to him as soon as he goes to bed even if he is not perfectly lying down. Repeat the exercise until he does it on his own, holding a treat low to the ground but not touching it. Be careful, it's a long workout that requires a lot of patience and repetition.

"Do not move"

This exercise is difficult because dogs, especially babies, do not like to stand still! Get to a quiet place and have your dog sit down. Step back slowly, keeping your eyes on him and your palm outstretched in front of him. As you do, say in a firm but kind tone "stay still". At first, he will get up and try to come towards you: this is completely normal. Say "no" and put him back where he was, sit him down and repeat the exercise. Take a few steps back and reward him right away if he didn't move. Gradually increase the distance and each time come back to him, congratulating him. Thereafter, remove the treat but maintain petting and encouragement before testing the order in various situations.

The "stop" or "halt"

The "stop" command will be learned by keeping the dog on a leash, preferably outdoors or in your garden at the beginning to avoid distractions. The objective is for it to stop when you stop, before crossing a road for example. Walk side-by-side with your dog and come to a halt by saying "stop" or "hate" just before he is stopped by the leash. Attention, the goal is not to pull but that the dog is stopped by the length of the leash! He must make the connection between the "stop" and his forced stop. Repeat the exercise until he understands and stops before being stopped by the leash. Reward him warmly for each success. Later you can test it by saying "stop".

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