Training your dog is all about strengthening your relationship with your pooch, while at the same, you’re making sure that your pup knows the basic rules and can behave. It’s not good when you’re trying to deal with an uncontrollable dog that jumps on everyone and terrorizes an entire neighborhood. You don’t want your dog to be “that one.” When you work on training your dog, you make progress towards a dog who is better behaved, polite, and a fun dog to be around. The seven essential commands outlined here are a good place to start. From there, you can move on to even more complicated and fun ones.
“Place” is one of the most common training commands. It’s vital to teaching your dog to be calm and relaxed in the home. This command instructs the dog to stay on a dog cot, mat, or dog bed and relax. Always start out training your dog on a leash with this command. This way, you can give guidance to your dog when necessary. Place is great if you have an anxious or nervous dog, a reactive dog, or a dog who has some separation anxiety.
This command is one of the absolute most important for the safety of your dog. It’s how you get your dog to return to you when he has ventured away and you need him to come right back. When we train recall, we start on leash for guidance until the dog understands what we need him to do. One of the best ways to insure reliable recall is to continue training with e-collar so that your dog knows you can enforce the command even if he is off leash!
Generally, “down” means to lie down. When you give this command to your dog, it should lie down on its belly or its side. You’ll use this command to help the dog to get to a more relaxed state in a faster fashion. We use it in conjunction with “Place” to help anchor the dog better. Also, this is a great command if you are out and about with your dog and need him to chill while you sit outside and have coffee or hang out while your kids play. “Down” makes it easier to include your dog in your daily life!
“Sit” is another command that we use often. If you want to teach your dog how to sit, you will use light upward leash pressure and use light downward pressure on their butt. As soon as the dog starts to sit, all pressure goes away. Reward the dog for his effort, and then keep repeat the process until the dog understands what the leash pressure means and what to do when feeling it. Then, you can name the command. Sit is a great way to help a dog by giving him an alternate behavior when he gets overly excited and wants to jump on people. Sitting is also great when you are on a walk and stop to talk to your neighbors. Your dog can sit or down and just hang out while you chat.
This command – “Heel” – is terrific for letting the dog know that you want him to walk politely beside you. You have to be sure that your dog understands leash pressure, and then you practice walking with your dog beside you. When your dog gets ahead of you, turn and go the other way. Your dog will quickly figure out that he needs to pay attention to you as you walk! Once the dog understands how to walk politely, then you can name the command!
#6. Kennel Up
This is an incredibly important command. If you’re ever in a situation where your dog has to stay somewhere overnight like the vet, a hotel, a friend’s home, you want your dog to know how to “kennel up” and hang out quietly in a crate. Crating can also keep your dog safe from getting into dangerous things in the household, eating the furniture, etc.!
If you really want your dog to be well trained, then your dog needs to know when it’s actually released from command. That’s where the “Break” command comes in. It means your dog can relax and do what he wants. He is released from whatever command you were just using. In dog training sessions, this is started with a dog that is on a leash. This way, we can provide guidance to the dog to help teach him!