A Dog Obedience Training Guide
By: Ruben Sanchez
When you get a new puppy, it is extremely important to start training it right away. Dogs learn quickly when they are young, and without sufficient training, they can start to learn bad habits and behaviors. However, before you start to train your puppy, you should read up on the correct ways to train, reward, and punish the dog. Keep in mind that training takes plenty of time and patience. Keep at it and you will create a happy, healthy bond with the dog.
Beginning Your Dog’s Obedience Training
By the time the dog has left its mother and is old enough to walk about and explore on its own, it can start training. Keep in mind that puppies have short attention spans. For this reason, you should maintain short but regular training sessions. Instead of only having one set session a day, try to work in five-minute batches of training through the day. Stay patient, and do not lose your temper if the dog fails or seems unable to understand. Remember that they are not only learning new commands, but they are also learning it in a language that they don’t yet understand.
Tools and Treats
Many trainers like to use a clicker when training a dog. It is a small device that makes a clicking sound. If you don’t have a clicker, it can be replicated with a clicking pen. Other tools to purchase with care are a proper training collar and a leash. Unlike a standard collar which can be somewhat snug around the neck, a training collar should be a little looser. A standard leather leash is usually the sturdiest and easiest to use.
In terms of treats, check the pet store for treats for dogs. Dogs do value certain foods above others. For example, a tasty treat or biscuit will usually be devoured more eagerly than a handful of kibble. Do not make the mistake of using human food as treats. Most common foods and substances that we consume including chocolate, grapes, avocadoes, garlic, onion, cheese, ice cream, certain nuts, candy, and salt can be harmful and even poisonous to dogs. Apart from this, it can also teach the dog to come begging for scraps from the table. Stick to treats that are made specifically for dogs. Since you will be practicing and training a lot, small treats are better for the dog’s weight control.
Techniques for Training Your Dog
Repetition is one of the foremost keys in dog training. Let’s use the Sit command as an example. To teach a dog to sit, hold a small treat up directly above its head. Say “Sit” while gently pushing it down on its haunches. When the dog sits properly, reward it with positive reinforcement. This can be done by clicking the clicker, patting it and saying “good dog” in a happy tone, and giving it a treat. Do this several more times, until the dog understands that it receives a reward when it sits. By this point, you should not need to prompt it physically into a sitting position. It is fine to change up the rewards occasionally. Do not be entirely reliant on giving treats as a reward every single time, since this will result in a dog who only obeys when there is a treat dangled in front of it. Instead, use praise and love too. Dogs lap it up and it is a great alternative to treats.
If a dog fails a command or outright disobeys, correct it the way its mother would. In a natural setting, the mother dog might issue a warning bark or growl at the puppy to let it know that it has done something wrong. It does not resort to violence! Similarly, if your puppy has done wrong, say “No!” immediately in a very stern voice. It is acceptable to give the dog a quick tap on the nose with a single finger. The goal of this is to deliver a small, surprising touch, not an outright slap or anything painful.
Routine is important in potty training. Ideally, the puppy should be taken out as soon as it wakes up, every three or four hours, after meals, and just before bedtime. Accidents can still happen in between though. Be prepared for this by placing a puppy potty-training pad in its living area. If the dog starts to relieve itself indoors, say “No!” and quickly pick it up and place it on the training pad. The dog should be rewarded each time it relieves itself outdoors. As the dog grows older, you can decrease the number of times it goes out.
Sit, Stay, Come
Sit, stay, and come are among the essential commands that a puppy should learn. As demonstrated earlier, they all require plenty of practice and time. Teaching a dog these commands will help to have a well-behaved and well-controlled dog, especially when outdoors or in the presence of strangers.
Although many people may regard the Play Dead command as a fun or trivial trick, it can actually be quite handy. This command teaches a dog to lie still on its side. It is useful for times when the pet owners needs to groom or inspect the dog’s ears, teeth, or paws. It is also useful at the vet’s office when the dog is undergoing a physical examination.
- A Vast Collection of Dog Training Articles
- Steps to Successful Crate Training
- A Guide to Puppy Potty Training
- General Housetraining Tips (PDF)
- Training with Positive Reinforcement
- Appropriate Punishment Techniques
- Socializing Your Dog
- Tips for Training a Puppy
- Training the Gentle Way
- Perimeter Training Instructions
- Biting and Nipping (PDF)
- Teaching the Heel Command (PDF)
- Using A Leash
- Choosing the Right Training Collar
- Tricks and Obedience Training