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Rewards work better than bribes

Make sure everyone uses the exact commands your dog learns in training. Always reward success and good behavior with praise, and sometimes a small treat. Small treats help motivate your dog to learn his training. The treat needs to be small, tasty, and easily chewed. You don't want it to interrupt the training session or make them full too quickly. Use "high value" treats when needed. Examples include freeze-dried liver, roasted chicken breast chunks, or slices of turkey lunch meat. As the dog learns the command, phase out the high value treats and bring them back as needed to advance your training, but always give him praise.

What can I do to prevent this in the future?

Train on an empty stomach. Don't feed as large a meal as usual a few hours before training your dog. The more your dog wants the treat, the more focused he'll be on the task he needs to perform to get it. Always end training on a positive note. Even if the training session did not go well and your dog didn't catch on to a new command, end on something that you can praise him for. By ending the training session with a command he's already mastered, the last thing he remembers will be your love and praise.

If your dog barks at you when you don't want him to, just ignore him until he stops, and then reward him with praise. Sometimes they bark at you for attention, while other times it may be out of frustration. Do not throw a ball or toy. This only teaches him that if he barks, he'll get you to do something he wants. Don't yell at the dog to be quiet, as this rewards him with attention. Take your dog on regular walks with a leash. This is important not just for training, but for his physical and mental health.

Depending on what breed of dog you have, he may need a lot of exercise to keep him happy and in shape. Most dogs will pull on the leash when they're learning to take walks. When he starts pulling, stop immediately. Don't take another step until the dog comes to your side and focuses his attention on you.

An even more effective method is to walk in the opposite direction and encourage your dog to come with you. Once he's caught up, praise and treat him. Make it fun to be by your side. Your dog's natural impulse is to chart his own course and investigate his environment. You need to make walking by your side more appealing that that. Use an enthusiastic voice when changing directions, and lavish him with praise when he comes back to your side.

Pair the behavior with a verbal command. Understand the value of the command. This command is potentially life-saving, as it can prevent your dog from running off if he gets loose. You always want to start training indoors or in your fenced yard with low distraction. You want to make him run toward you. You can do this with high-pitched noises associated with play, with a toy, with an excited clap, or just opening your arms. Running a short distance away from him and then stopping can also work, as dogs will naturally start to chase.

Pair the behavior with the verbal command. Move the training to more public spaces. Move the training sessions from your home or yard to a public park. There are more sights, sounds, and smells demanding his attention there. Increase the leash length. You began training with a 6-foot leash, but you want your dog to come longer distances than that. Try attaching two leashes together to increase the distance. Work up to training your dog off the leash in a fenced environment. This will teach him to come over long distances. Ask someone to help with off-the-leash training.

Because this command is so important, the praise you give for performing it should be extravagant. Responding to the "come" command should be the best part of your dog's day. Do not create a negative association with this command. No matter how upset you are, never reinforce the "come" with anger. Even if you're furious that your dog slipped the leash and ran free for five whole minutes, lavish him with praise when he finally responds to the "come.

You can undo years of training with one bad experience. Never do something your dog won't enjoy after giving a "come. Praise the dog along the way for being calm and accepting of the task. You can use treats, of course. Go back to basics. If you have a scare where your dog runs loose and ignores the "come" command, go back to leash training.

Continue working on the leash until he responds reliably to the "come. It's too important to do half-heartedly. Because this behavior is so important, it must be reinforced throughout his entire lifetime. If you take off-leash hikes with your dog, keep treats in your pocket to reinforce the command. You also want a command to let the dog know that it does not have to be right next to you all the time. Keep the fun going.

In dog training, timing is everything

Acclimate the dog to collar grabs. When you lean over to reward him for the "come," include grabbing the collar in your hand and petting around the neck as you give him his treat. Leashes should mean fun things are about to happen and we get to go places. There is no room for harsh corrections.

One more step

Understand the purpose of the "listen" command. Also known as the "watch me" command, the "listen" is one of the first commands you should teach your dog. That way, each individual dog will know when you want it to focus on you. Prepare a handful of treats. These may be dog treats you buy at the store, or hot dogs cut into small pieces. Choose a treat that you know your dog loves and will perform for. Stand near your dog. If he reacts to your presence, stand still and look away until he loses interest. Say "Listen" in a quiet but firm voice. If you're using your dog's name instead of the "listen" or "watch me" commands, say his name instead.

The tone and volume should be the same as if you were calling a person's name to get their attention. Don't raise your voice to get his attention. Shouting will no longer be regarded as something that commands special attention. Dogs have excellent hearing — far better than ours.

A fun twist on this command is to see how quietly you can whisper and have your dog respond. Give an immediate reward for the desired response. As soon as your dog stops what he's doing and looks toward you, praise him and give him a treat. Make the click sound before giving praise or a treat if you're using clicker training. Remember that your response must be immediate. The faster you reward him, the better he'll understand the relationship between command, behavior, and reward. Once he's mastered the command, you shouldn't give him treats for performing it; however, you should still use your clicker or give verbal praise.

How to teach your dog basic commands

Weaning the dog off treats is important because he may start to expect treats all the time. You'll end up with a dog who only performs when you have food. Praise your dog regularly even after he's mastered a command, but treat him intermittently. That's the way to keep it solid in his doggy vocabulary. Once he's mastered command, you can use treats to shape the behavior to be faster or more accurate. He will soon realize that the treats come with the command or activity that follows the "listen.

Get your dog into a standing position. The purpose of the "sit" is get your dog to transition from standing to sitting, not just continue sitting. Walk into your dog or step away from him to get him into a standing position.


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Position yourself in his line of sight. Stand directly in front of the dog so that his attention is focused on you. Let him see that you have a treat in your hand. Focus the dog's attention on the treat. Begin with the treat held down at your side. Give him an immediate treat and praise. He may be slow at first, but more treats and praise will speed up his response. Make sure that you do not praise him until his butt touches the ground. If you praise halfway through the sit, the dog will think that is what you want.

Also, make sure that you do not praise him for getting back up, or you will get that behavior instead of the sit. If your dog does not sit with the treat technique, you can use your leash and collar. Stand next to the dog, facing the same direction as him. Place a little backward pressure on the collar to encourage a sit. Gently lean the dog backward with the help of the collar while doing this. As soon as he sits, give him immediate praise and reward.

Don't repeat the command. You want the dog to respond on the first utterance, not the second, third, or fourth. If the dog does not perform the behavior within 2 seconds of your command, reinforce the command with the help of your leash. When you begin training a dog, never give a command that you are not in a position to reinforce. Otherwise, you risk training the dog to ignore you because there is no follow through from your end and the commands have no meaning. Create a positive meaning for the dog with praise and consistency.

Praise natural sitting behavior. Look for times throughout the day when your dog just sits on his own. Praise that behavior, and pretty soon you'll have a dog that sits for attention instead of jumping or barking at you. Get some food treats or a toy and find your dog. Hold the toy or treat in view so he focuses on you. Use the treat or toy to encourage your dog to lie down. Do this by moving the toy or treat onto the ground in front of the dog, between his front legs. His head should follow it, and his body should follow shortly thereafter.

Be accurate with your praise, too. If you praise him halfway down or up, that is the behavior you will get. Always praise him immediately when his belly is on the ground. Dogs read body language well and learn hand signals quite quickly. If he pops up to get the treat, do not give it to him, or you will be rewarding the last behavior he did before the treat. Just start again, and the dog will understand that you want him all the way down on the ground, as long as you are consistent. Don't lean over your dog. Once your dog has caught onto the command, stand up straight when giving it. If you loom over him, you'll have a dog that only lays down when you are leaning over him.

You want to work on being able to get your dog to lie down from across the room, eventually. Teaching a dog to respect the threshold is important. You do not want a dog that runs out the door every time it opens — that could be dangerous for him. Doorway training doesn't need to happen every single time you go through a doorway. But you should make the most of your training opportunities early in your puppy's life.

Place the dog on a leash. You should have him on a short leash that allows you to change his direction from a close distance. If your dog moves to follow you when you step through the door, use the leash to stop his forward movement. Praise him when he waits. When he realizes that you want him to stay in the door instead of walking through it with you, lavish him with praise and rewards for the "good wait. Teach him to sit in the threshold. If the door is closed, you can even teach your dog to sit as soon as you place your hand on the doorknob. He'll then wait while the door is opened, and not cross the threshold until you release him.

This training should be done on leash at the beginning, for his safety. Give a separate command to encourage him through the doorway. You might use a "come" or a "free. Practice leaving the dog at the threshold and do something on the other side. You might get the mail or take out the trash before you return and praise him. The idea is that you do not always call him across the threshold to meet you. You can also come back to him. Have him wait patiently while you prepare his meal. Eventually, he will sit on his own as soon as he sees his feeding bowl. Hand feed your dog. At meal time, start feeding your dog out of your hand.

Then use your hands to put the rest of the food in the bowl. This should help fix or prevent any food aggression tendencies. To teach this command, do the following: Hold a treat in your closed hand. The dog will probably lick, sniff, and paw at your hand in an attempt to get to the treat. Eventually, when the dog moves his nose away, praise him and give him the treat. Hold one treat in your palm in front of the dog and one behind you in the other hand. Place the treat on the floor. Move the treat from your palm to the floor.

Continue to reward your dog with the treat you have behind your back. If he eats the treat, go back to an earlier stage. Give your dog a toy to play with. As he takes the toy in his mouth, reward him for the behavior with praise. Plus, he gets to play with the toy! Transition to less rewarding objects. It's easy for a dog to learn "take" when the object is so much fun! When he's mastered the connection between command and behavior, move on to boring objects.

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Examples might include newspapers, light bags, or anything else you might want him to carry. Do not get into a tugging match with the dog. When you tug, the dog tugs back harder. The value of the "sit" and "wait" seem obvious, but you may not understand at first why the "stand" is an important skill to teach your dog. You won't use the "stand" every day, but you'll need it throughout the dog's life.

For example, a dog who can stay calmly in a "stand" is the ideal patient at a vet clinic or client at a groomer's. Prepare for the training session. Grab his favorite toy or prepare a handful of treats to both focus your dog's attention and reward him for learning the command. Put the dog in a starting "down" or "lie down" position when working with the "stand" command. He should move from lying down to standing up to get his toy or treats. You want to coax him into the standing position by having him follow the toy or treat.

Hold the toy or treat in front of his face, at nose height. If he sits, thinking that will earn him a reward, try again, but with the treat or toy slightly lower. Encourage the dog to follow your hand. Flatten your hand with your palm down. If you're using a treat, hold it with your thumb against your palm. Start with your hand in front of his nose and move it away a few inches. The idea is that the dog will stand up while following your hand. You may need to use your other hand to encourage him from underneath his hips to get the idea at first. As soon as he reaches the standing position, praise and treat.

Although you haven't yet started using the verbal "stand" command, you can use it in your praise: Add the verbal "stand" command. At first, you will work only on getting your dog to stand by following the hand that holds his toy or treat. When he's mastered that concept, begin incorporating the "stand" command into the training sessions. There are many ways to combine commands. Eventually, you'll have your dog performing these commands from across the room.

On its own, this command is something of a novelty. Inexperienced trainers sometimes find "speak" training spirals out of control. They end up with a dog who barks at them all the time. Clicker train your dog. Teach your dog to associate the click sound with a treat by clicking and treating a few times in a row. Continue this clicker training until your dog sees the click sound as a reward in and of itself.

The treat will come later. Figure out when your dog barks most. This will vary from dog to dog, so you have to observe your specific pet. He might bark most reliably when you withhold a treat, when someone knocks on the door, when someone rings the doorbell, or when someone honks a horn. Recreate the triggering event. The idea is to encourage him to bark on his own, then praise him for the action. You can see how this might be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced trainer.

That's why "speak" training is a little different from the other commands. You'll incorporate the verbal command from the very beginning. That way, the dog doesn't think you're praising him for his natural behavior.

Use the verbal "speak" command from the beginning. As soon as your dog barks for the very first time, give the verbal "speak" command, click, and give him a treat. The other commands thus far have taught the behavior first, then added a command that preceded the behavior. However, "speak" training gets out of hand too easily that way. The dog gets rewarded for barking at first. Thus, it's better to associate the verbal command with the behavior already in progress.

Never reward the dog for barking without the verbal command. If you have a dog who naturally barks too much, you might not think teaching him to "speak" is going to help your situation. However, if you teach him to "speak," then you can also teach him to "quiet. Give the "speak" command. However, instead of rewarding the "speak" barking , wait until the dog stops barking.

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Give the verbal "quiet" command. If the dog remains silent, reward the "quiet" no barking with a click and a treat. Understand the value of crate training. You might think it cruel to pen a dog up in a crate for hours at a time. But dogs are instinctively den animals, so confined spaces are not as oppressive to them as they are to us. In fact, crate trained dogs will seek out their crates as a source of comfort. Crate training is a useful way to manage your dog's behavior when he's unsupervised for extended periods of time.

For example, many owners crate their dogs when they go to sleep or leave the house. Begin crate training young. Although older dogs can be taught to enjoy their crates as well, it's easier to train a young dog. If your puppy is a large breed, don't train him in a large crate that you think he'll grow into. Dogs won't relieve themselves where they sleep or relax, so you need the crate to be appropriately sized. If you use a crate that's too large, he might urinate in the far corner of it because he has so much space.

Make the crate an inviting space. You want him to create a positive association with the crate, so that he enjoys his time in there. When you begin the crate training process, place the crate somewhere the household gathers. The idea is to make the crate part of the social scene rather than a place of isolation. Place a soft blanket and some of your dog's favorite toys inside the crate. Encourage him to enter the crate. Once you've made the crate an inviting space, use treats to lure him inside. At first, place some outside the door so he can explore the exterior of the crate.

Then, place treats just inside the door, so he will poke his head in to retrieve them. As he grows more comfortable, place the treats further and further inside the crate.

How to Teach your Puppy to Sit and Stay

Do this until your dog enters the crate without hesitation. Always speak in your "happy voice" when acclimating your dog to the crate. Feed the dog in his crate. Once he's comfortable entering the crate for treats, reinforce the positive association with mealtime. Place his dog bowl wherever he's comfortable eating. If he's still a little anxious, you might have to place it right by the door. As he grows more comfortable over time, place the dog bowl further back into the cage. Begin closing the door behind him. Come This command can help keep a dog out of trouble, bringing him back to you if you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open.

Down This can be one of the more difficult commands in dog obedience training. Because the position is a submissive posture. You can help by keeping training positive and relaxed, particularly with fearful or anxious dogs. Repeat it every day. After all, they want to be on the move and not just sitting there waiting. Leave it This can help keep your dog safe when his curiosity gets the better of him, like if he smells something intriguing but possibly dangerous on the ground! The goal is to teach your pup that he gets something even better for ignoring the other item.

Just these five simple commands can help keep your dog safer and improve your communication with him. Considering health insurance for your dog, but budget is a concern? Our partners at ConsumersAdvocate. Here are ours for the comments:. Also, please note that because of volume, we are unable to respond to individual comments, although we do watch them in order to learn what issues and questions are most common so that we can produce content that fulfills your needs. You are welcome to share your own dog tips and behavior solutions among yourselves, however. Thank you for reading our articles and sharing your thoughts with the pack!

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