Teaching your dog basic commands isn’t just about impressing friends and family—dogs should be socialized from they time they’re puppies. This will encourage positive, healthy behavior from the very beginning. The process can seem difficult, but don’t worry, dog training gets easier with time and effort.
HOW TO TRAIN A DOG IN THREE STEPS
Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. By showing your dog he will be rewarded if he accomplishes a specific task, he‘ll be more likely to listen. You can use these steps to train your dog:
1. Incentivize: Get your dog’s attention by showing him a treat or a toy.
2. Command: Clearly state what you want him to do.
3. Reward: Celebrate a job well done with praise and a treat or toy reward.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOG TO SIT
Hold a treat in front of your dog. Once you have his attention, slowly lift the treat above his head. Your dog’s rear end should touch the ground as he looks up at the treat. As soon as his bottom hits the ground, say “sit.” Give your dog a treat as soon as he sits and let him know that he did a good job!
Try to have two to three training sessions daily. It will likely take a week or two of obedience training before your dog will be able to sit on command. Once your dog gets the hang of it, offer treats intermittently. Ultimately, you’ll want to be able to give the sit command without offering a reward.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOG TO HEEL
Attach a leash to your dog’s collar. Hold the leash in one hand and a squeaky toy in the other in front of your dog. Say “heel” and slowly walk forward. Your dog should walk with you as he follows the toy. If he stops walking or if he looks away, squeak the toy to get his attention. Give him the toy after about 30 seconds of walking.
Gradually increase the length of training sessions, always giving the heel command. Eventually, stop using the toy. It will take your dog time to get the hang of it, so be patient and encourage him along the way!
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOG TO COME TO YOU
Bring your dog to a quiet, indoor area. Crouch down with your arms open and enthusiastically say “come.” Stay in position and don’t reach out to grab him. Once he starts moving toward you, give him praise. When he gets to you, reward him with a treat!
Never scold your dog for coming to you too slowly, and don’t call him over to punish him; always use positive reinforcement.
DOG TRAINING TIPS
Speak happily but firmly when training your dog. Every dog learns at a unique pace. Speak sparingly during training; only give the command, and then praise him afterward.
Here’s to all the great training sessions (and belly rubs) ahead!