Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Basic Dog Obedience: Four Simple Commands

You'll come to find that the old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks.", is completely false. A dog, no matter what age they are, can learn to do basic obedience. You just have to know a few things yourself. Everyone can train a dog, but if you're not training them correctly they're not going to pick up on it, and it's going to learn you frustrated, and your poor dog extremely confused. So to make it easier on everyone take these simple tips on how to teach your dog to do these four basic commands:

1. Come

This command is one of the most important for your dog to know for your convenience, as well as for their safety. Nothing is scarier than if your dog runs away, and you're not able to catch them, or even worse if they run into a dangerous situation, like into the street with incoming traffic, and you're not able to get to them fast enough to save them. In these situations, it's crucial for your dog to know to "come" on command. There are a few ways to teach your dog this command. The most affective and easy is to put your dog on a long lead. Let them wander away from you, even let them get distracted with anything else they find more interesting. Then, in a stern voice, say "COME!" Then, immediately after, sharply tug toward you on the lead letting your dog know what's expected on them. If they don't come all the way to you, pull on the lead again until they reach you. Only say "COME!" once. This is so they know they need to come the first time their called. Again, it plays a very important role in their safety later on. Finally, when your dog makes it all the way over to you, give them lots of praise and on occasion, a tasty treat. (I say on occasion if you reward them with a treat every time, they'll learn not to obey you unless you have the treat to give.)

2. Down

The command "Down" tells your dog or puppy not to jump up on you, your family, or other house guests. A puppy jumping up on you can be rather irritating. Now, if it's a grown dog, especially of a large breed, it can be dangerous, especially when they jump up on a child. So needless to say all dogs should know this command. A simple way to teach them this command is to, notice when they are about to jump on you and put up your knee, and in a stern voice yell, "DOWN!" (Note: Don't hit your dog with your knee, just put it up to block their actions.) Now, wait until your dog has all four paws on the floor before saying anything else or giving them any more attention. Attention is for good doggies with all four paws on the floor. If you give them attention when they are being naughty it reinforces their bad behavior, even if it's negative attention, your dog sees it as getting attention. Once, your dog has all four paws on the ground give them praise. (If you don't notice when they're about to jump on you simply say "DOWN!" and ignore them until your dog has all four paws on the ground.) --->Quick Tip: When teaching your dog the command "lay down" try using another word other than "down" like "CHARGE". Using the same word for two different commands will just confuse your poor pouch.

3. Heel

The command "heel" is one of the most time consuming. While all tricks and commands will take persistence, and patience this command will need a little extra time for your dog to grasp fully. It's hard for your dog to understand that their place is a 2-3 foot space right by your side. For this command put your dog on a short lead. Every time they pull too far forward, say in a stern voice, "HEEL!", and tug sharply toward you and the lead. Repeat this action if they fall too far behind. When your dog obeys, praise them. Remember: This is not only to ensure proper behavior, but also helps protect your dog from future health problems. When they pull too hard on the lead it crushes their windpipe, giving them breathing problems later in life. Plus, if they wander too far from you, you can never see what they are getting into, and if they consume something off the ground you'll never know if it was harmful. Plus, eating random things off the ground causes havoc to their digestive system, which will cause doggy messes at home. Creating frustration, stress, and could end up costing you a vet visit if what they ate was harmful.

4. Sit

There are many reasons for you to want your dog to know the command "sit", and certainly too many to start listing them off. Luckily, for everyone this is a very simple command to train them on, and will be the least time consuming. Put your dog on a short lead. Then, get the lead to where there is very little slack left. Get your dogs attention, and sternly say, "SIT!" Now pull sharply upward on the lead. This should cause a natural reaction in your dog making them put their rump on the ground. If they need a little extra persuading, push their rump to the ground. Once, your dog responds with the desired behavior, praise them.

With all these commands it will take time and persistence. Don't assume your dog will pick up on the command instantly. Repeat these training techniques until they show you they understand without the pulling on the leads or any extra help on your part. With a little attention and consistency from you, your dog will have these commands down like a pro, and you will be a happy dog owner.

Need to solve dog behavior problems or learn how to house train a puppy? Go to http://www.dogbehaviorexpert.com.

-Thomas Turner



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