There are many reasons for owners to want to own a calm, obedient and faithful dog. First of all, an obedient and well trained dogs are generally happier dogs, they are less likely to get into tussles with people or with other dogs. Another reason is that many communities require that the dogs living in their neighborhoods are well behaved and well trained. This is especially true for many breeds that are perceived to have aggressive and behavioral problems such as dog breeds like pitbulls and rottweilers.
And of course, training your dog well will also make him or her much better family companion, especially in homes where there are young kids. There are a lot of studies that have shown that proper dog training makes a big impact when it comes to cutting down the number of dog bites and other behavior related problems encountered by dog owning households.
When you consider training your dog, or maybe someone else may even train it, there are a set of basic commands that should be mastered for the dog to be considered trained properly. These commands include:
Heel – it is very important that any dog can learn to walk beside its owner on a loose lead, the do should neither pull ahead nor should it lag behind
Respond to the word “No” – the word no is one word that all dogs must learn. Training your dog to respond to this crucial word can save you a lot of trouble.
Sit – Training your dog to sit on command is another crucial part of any dog training program.
Stay – A properly trained dog ought to remain where his or her owner commands, so the command stay is a very important command in dog training.
Down – Lying down on command is a key part of any successful dog training program.
So to recap, the basic obedience commands that every dog must know are – “Heel”, “No”, “Sit”, “Stay”, “Down” and we also add the command “Off”. These six commands are the basis of every basic dog obedience class, and it is crucial that you and your dog master these basic commands.
These are the basics, and it will be very difficult to move onto different commands, or to fix any problems with behavior, without having mastered these basic commands.
The Basic commands
The “heel” command
Let’s start with the most basic command of all, the heel command. Teaching a dog to heel is the basic first step in teaching a dog to walk properly on the leash. The proper place for the dog to walk is at your side, neither lagging behind nor straining to get ahead. If your dog begins to forge ahead on the lead, give the leash a gentle tug. This will make the training collar tighten and give the dog a little reminder to fall back into line. However, if the dog should start to lag behind, gently urge him forward. A lure or a toy is good for the dog that constantly lags behind.
Once the dog is consistently walking at your side, you should try and change your pace and encourage the dog to match his pace with your pace. It should be the dog who adjusts his pace to you; you should never have to adjust your pace to meet the needs of your dog.
The “No” command
The word no is a very important one for your dog to learn, and one you may need to use it a lot as the dog training begins. It is important that the dog learns to respond to a sharp “No” quickly and obediently.
The “Sit” command
The sit command is another vital link in the chain that is dog training. Teaching a dog to sit on command, using voice commands alone, will form the basis of much more training in the future, so it is important for the dog to master this vital skill.
The sit command can also be combined with the heel command. As you walk alongside your dog, stop quickly. If your dog does not stop when you do, give a sharp tug on the leash to remind your dog. Many dogs will instinctively stop when you do, while others may need to be reminded through the use of the leash and the training collar.
Once the dog has stopped by your side, urge him to sit by pushing gently on his hindquarters. It is important not to use too much pressure, or to push him down abruptly. Doing so could frighten, or even injure the dog. Rather, apply a steady downward pressure. Most dogs will recognize this as a sit command. It is important to say the word sit as you do this.
Repeat this procedure a few times by walking, stopping and sitting your dog. After a few repetitions, the dog will probably begin to sit down on his own every time he stops. It is important to say the word sit each time, so that the dog will eventually learn to respond to voice commands alone.
The “Stay” command
Like the sit command, the stay command is a vital building block to other, more advanced training. For instance, the stay command is vital to teaching the dog to come when called, which is in turn vital to off leash work.
The stay command can be made into an extension of the sit command. Have your dog sit, and while he is sitting, slowly back away. If the dog begins to follow you, as he probably will it first, come back to the dog and ask him to sit again. Repeat the process until you can reach the end of the leash without your dog getting up from a sitting position.
After the dog is reliably staying where you indicate, you can try dropping the leash and backing further away. It will probably take the dog some time to reliably stay where he is put without becoming distracted.
The “Down” command
The down command is another important part of any basic obedience training program. The down command is very important in regaining control of a dog, or stopping a dog who is engaged in inappropriate behavior.
The “Off” command
The off command is just as important as the other commands, and it forms the basis for later training, especially when training the dog not to chase things such as people, cars, bikes, cats, etc.
For instance, when training a dog to remain still when a bike goes by, the owner would stand with the dog calmly on the leash. If the dog begins to strain against the leash, the owner sharply issues an “Off” command accompanied by a tug of the leash. Eventually the dog will learn to respond to the voice command alone.
Dog training Summary
Dog training does a lot more than just create an obedient, willing companion. Training your dog properly can actually strengthen the bond that already exists between dog and owner. Dogs in the wild are pack animals, and they look to their pack leader to tell them what to do. The key to successful dog training is to set you up as the pack leader.
Establishing yourself as the pack leader is a very important concept for any potential dog trainer to understand. There is only one leader in every pack of dogs, and the owner must establish him or herself as the dominant animal. Failure to do so leads to all manner of behavior problems.
A properly trained dog will respond properly to all the owner’s commands, and will not display anxiety, displeasure or confusion. A good dog training program will focus on allowing the dog to learn just what is expected of it, and will use positive reinforcement to reward desired behaviors.
In addition to making the dog a good member of the community, obedience training is a great way to fulfill some of the dog’s own needs, including the need for exercise, the security that comes with knowing what is expected of it, a feeling of accomplishment and a good working relationship with its owner. Dog training gives the dog an important job to do, and an important goal to reach.
Giving the dog a job is more important than you may think. Dogs were originally bred by humans to do important tasks, such as herding sheep, guarding property and protecting people. Many dogs today have no important job to do, and this can often lead to boredom and neurotic behavior.
Basic obedience training, and ongoing training sessions, provides the dog with an important job to do. This is especially important for the more high energy breeds like German shepherds and border collies. Training sessions are a great way for these high energy dogs to use up their extra energy and simply to enjoy themselves.
Incorporating playtime into your dog training sessions as well is a great way to prevent both yourself and your dog from becoming bored. Always remember to play with your dog as this also helps to strengthen the bond between you as the pack leader and your dog.