Training your dog is all about strengthening your relationship with your pooch, while at the same, you’re making sure that your pup isn’t a terror. There’s just something disturbing about an uncontrollable dog that jumps on everyone and terrorizes an entire neighborhood. You don’t want your dog to be “that one.” Instead, you need to make sure that your dog is properly trained. The seven essential commands outlined here are a good place to start. From there, you can move on to even more sophisticated ones.
“Heel” is one of the most common training commands. You hear it all of the time at dog shows when it’s time for the trainers to walk their dogs around on the floor in front of the judges. Yes, this command instructs the dog to walk next to its owner in a controlled manner. Always start out training your dog on a leash with this command. This way, you have some control over your dog when walking with it. Over time, once your dog is better trained, you may be able to get it to heel without the leash.
This command is one that people tend to confuse with “down”(which is next, for the record.) It’s a phrase that you’ll say when you want your dog to stop jumping on people in an excited manner. Although this how many dogs prefer to greet humans, it’s very impolite to let your dog jump all over your visitors. Once your pup is trained right, you’ll just need to say “off” and your dog will get down and sit on the floor, waiting for a head-scratching or some petting. Basically, this command is code for “stop jumping on people.”
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 when your dog is getting very excited and needs a few moments to calm down. (See what we did there?) Again, as we stated above, this command shouldn’t be confused with “off” since one means to get off of a person, while the other means lie down on the floor. A well behaved and properly trained dog knows the difference between these two things and will be able to execute both commands with ease.
“Sit” is another popular command. If you want to teach your dog how to sit, crouch down next to them, say “sit,” and then push their butt to the floor. Give them a treat, and then keep repeating these motions and commands until the dog will sit down upon hearing the word. Your dog needs to know how to sit when you tell it to, lest it gets overly excited and begins jumping around uncontrollably. You might also end up in a situation where your dog cannot lie down on the ground for some reason but will able to sit.
This command – “stay” – shows that you truly have control over your dog. Training sessions for this word tend to start with the owner telling the dog to stay, and then slowing backing away while repeating the command over and over again. Of course, the first few times, the dog won’t stay, but it will slowly learn that this command is for its own good and will begin to listen. Stay is a good command for those situations where you don’t want your dog to follow you for one reason or another. You want it to stay in place, in order to keep your pooch safe.
#6. Leave It
This is an incredibly important command. If you’re ever in a situation where something dangerous, yet appealing to your dog is on the ground, you want your dog to “leave it” alone. For example, if you’re taking your dog for a walk in the woods and you come across a squirrel or some other type of wild creature – and you know that your dog wants to chase after it or at least investigate it – you’ll say “leave it” and the dog will do just that. Otherwise, you have a dog that is potentially hurting itself time and time again.
If you really want your dog to be well trained, then you’ll teach it how to come to you. In dog training sessions, this is done with a dog that isn’t on a leash. The owner goes to one end of the floor, while the trainer holds the dog still on the other. As the owner, you’ll say “come” while holding a treat. You may have to repeat the word and the dog’s name a few times, but if you practice this enough, you’ll have a dog that will come to you every time.