Any dog, regardless its size, shape or breed should be taught the five basic commands. Let's be honest, dogs are cute, but a trained dog is even more pleasant to be around. These commands, if taught correctly, will make your life and your dog's a very happy one.
It is very important that you train your dog with positive reinforcement. Find out, or you might already know what motivates your dog the most. For some dogs, is about food, and for other, affection will move him. Either form of reward you will be using to train your dog, remember that timing is the key factor when training your dog. If you reward your dog even 5 seconds later, you may be rewarding the wrong behavior. It is also important to fill yourself with a lot of patience and consistency. The more you practice with your dog, the better he'll get at learning the new command. Practice one million times until your dog automatically does the command you ask him to do.
The basic commands are "Sit", "Down", "Stay", "Come", "Heal".
Sit: Your dog pretty much sit and remains sat until you release him.
Hold a treat in your hand a bit higher above your dog's head, and slowly move the treat backwards over your dog's head. This will make your dog to sit. If this doesn't work, keep moving the treat above his head backward towards his tail until your dog sits. The second your dog sits, reward him with the treat and praise the behavior by saying "Sit!" Once your dog sits repeatedly, wait for a few seconds before rewarding, and remember to give the treat only when your dog is in the correct position.
Down: when your dog is sitting facing you. Hold his favorite treat on your hand and put it on top of his nose. Move the treat slowly straight down to the floor. Your dog should follow your hand and naturally drops to rest on his chest or belly. This is when you release the treat and praise him by saying "Down!" only and only when your dog is on the right position-down! Sometimes, your dog will follow your hand with the treat in with his head without lying down. If this happens, once you have lowered the treat to the floor, move the treat toward away from your dog. This will make your dog lay down, and it is when you release the treat and praise him.
If your dog is not responding to the food reward, it is fine to slightly push your dog's shoulder down and to the side. Once your dog drops to the floor, then immediately praise him and release the treat.
Stay: with this command, your dog will hold his position, which it's mostly when sat, until released.
Ask your dog to sit or lay down. You can also use a leash to keep control of your dog. Once your dog is sat or laid down, stand in front of him, and a firm tone of voice say "Stay" holding your palm flat, very close to his nose. Then, move to a short distance away from your dog, and keeping eye contact with your dog, and return to him. Praise with your dog by saying "Good", or "Great", and give him a treat. Once again, make sure you praise and give your dog the treat only when the dog remain sat and in the staying position. As you practice, increase the time you ask your dog to stay and the distance between you and him. Keep in mind that consistency will pay off and sooner than later your dog will begin to understand.
Come: This command is also called the "life saver". Thus, it is very important that your dog learn this command properly.
Attach the leash to your dog (preferably, a long leash) and walk away about 2 to 4 meters facing him. Say "Come" and pull him quickly in to you, where he will be praised. Make sure you sound happy and welcoming, but firm. And give the command only once. As your dog improves, increase the distance of the leash.
At some point you will be confident to practice off-leash, when so, do it in a fenced area. Give your dog the command and if he doesn't respond, go grab your dog and take him to the spot where you initially gave him the command. It is imperative to not praise or reward your dog until he obeys to your command on his own the very first time. Before practicing this command off-leash, make sure you practice as many times as possible with the leash on. Also, it is a recommendable to reinforce this command for life. Always.
Heel: this command may take some time for your dog to learn it. The purpose of this command is to stop your dog from pulling you. Be aware that you must make it clear who the pack leader is, which it should be you. When on a dog walk, your dog might pull because he simply is excited to be outside, or his walking pace is faster than yours.
Start by having your dog sit next to you on your left side. Walk your dog always on your left side, this action will send your dog the message that you are on charge. Once your dog is calmly sitting next to you on your left. You step out first, and say" Heel" while you start walking. Say "Good Heel" if he walks behind or next to you. If your dog tries to walk in front of you, tag his leash firmly but gently. This should make him to back off. If your dog is pulling you badly. You can stop this behavior by simply stopping every time your dog starts pulling. This will give your dog the message that you aren't going anywhere if he keeps pulling. You will need to fill yourself with tons of patience. But it does pay off. Your dog will learn.
These methods are used at Manhattan Paws Walkers, a NYC dog walker and puppy training Service.
Vera Torres is a professional dog walker at Manhattan Paws Walkers, a NYC Dog Walkers service, and puppy training tips and tricks resource.
Visit our site at http://www.manhattanpawalkers.com.
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