Whether you have a new puppy or just want to freshen up with your current dog, obedience training can happen at any age! Training should be a happy time for both you and your pup and naturally, most dogs are followers looking for someone to lead them. While training, your dog will learn to respect you and look for that reward when they have done something you like. So let's jump right in and learn some fun ways to work on basic obedience with your pups right at home!
Note: It is great to use high-value treats on an empty stomach at first, but eventually, you will get the response you want from your dog for praise alone. The goal is for your dog to work for praise and love.
Before you can get your dog to learn something new, they must be paying attention to you. To get your dogs attention in training you must make it worth their while. A great command to start working on is "watch me." You can use a treat to teach your dog to make eye contact with you. Soon they will automatically look to you for directions. Praise them when they do so!
The sit is one of the easiest commands to teach and usually is picked up pretty quickly. With your dog standing in front of you, show them the treat and say "sit." Move the treat to their nose and slightly over the head. When the dog sits praise them immediately and always reward with a treat.
After you have mastered the sit for a few days it's time to start working on "down." Ask your dog to sit, with the leash hanging down from their collar. Give the command "down" with a treat in your hand from her nose, down to their chest, and to the ground. At the same time you can lightly tug the leash toward the ground. Of course praise when they do so!
This is my favorite obedience comman and one I think every dog should know! If you ever run into a scary situation you'll be so happy you taught this to your pup. With the dog in a sitting position, tell him "Stay," give a slight backward pressure to the leash, and pivot in front of the dog so you are facing him. Praise your dog if he doesnt move, then pivot back to his side. Repeat this lots of times eventually lengthening the tie and distance that you are away. When the dog has mastered this in the sit position move onto "stay" in the down position. When you tell your dog to "stay" your hand should look like a solid barrier in front of his face.
In most obedience training the dog is taught to walk on the left side of the handler. If your dog already knows how to walk on a leash, you can teach him that "heel" means to stay next to you without pulling or lagging on the leash. A really good place to teach this is along a wall or fence, where they dont have the opportunity to wander just be sure not to crowd them too much! Start with your pup on your left side tell him "heel" and start off with your left foot. Give a light tug on the leash. Praise your pup as he stays next to you and also use your "watch me command!" Everytime you stop ask your dog to stop as well, you can even ask them to sit!
An important thing to remember with this one is when your dog misbehaves, you should never call him to you and then punish him. No dog in their right mind would come back a second time. Put your dog a long lead and let them wander and explore. Give the command "come" and lightly tug on the leash. If the dog comes toward you, lavish him with great amounts of praise and treats. If the dog doesn't care or acts confused, reel them in gently and praise. At unexpected times, give the command "come" and praise always!
Hopefully these tips give you some fun ideas to practice basic obedience with your dog or new puppy! Remember to keep training fun and if you start feeling frusturated stop, and try again another day. In honor of #nationalloveyourpetday show them some love then some awesome new tricks!