Training your dog is an important but rewarding process. Read on for a list of the most useful commands to introduce to your pup:
Probably the most important command you could teach your dog, as you will use it daily. This is an easy command to teach. Grab yourself one of his favourite treats, bring it close to his nose and then hold it above his head. He will follow the direction of the treat and naturally sit down. As soon as he does, say ‘sit’ and give him the treat, followed by lots of strokes and cuddles. Repeat until your pup learns the command.
Once you’ve taught ‘sit’, you’ll be able to introduce your pup to ‘stay’. First, get your dog to sit down. Put your hand out in front of her, palm outwards in a ‘stop’ signal, and accompany this with the word ‘stay’. Wait a couple of seconds and then give her a treat, ensuring she is still sat down. Practice this regularly and increase the distance between you both each time, rewarding with treats and affection.
This one will come in handy when you’re out and about on a walk and they try to eat something they shouldn’t. You’ll need two treats for this, and particularly smelly ones are preferable. Place one of the treats under your shoe (keeping the other one in your hand). Let your dog sniff and paw at your shoe. As soon as he gets bored and turns away, say ‘yes’ or ‘good dog’ and reward him with the treat from your hand. Repeat this a few times. Now, you can add your ‘leave it’ cue. Place the treat under your shoe again, and when your pup notices it, say ‘leave it’. When they turn away, give him the treat from your hand. Repeat until mastered.
This one’s for when you catch your pup with one of your favourite shoes in his mouth, or for when you’re playing games like fetch or tug of war and you need to recapture your end. Begin by giving your dog one of his favourite toys. As soon as he’s settled, with it in his mouth, hold one of his favourite treats to his nose. As soon as he lets go of the toy, give him the treat. Repeat this process a number of times and then introduce ‘drop it’ when you hold the treat to his nose. Keep practising until treats are no longer needed.
A great command for when she’s strayed a little too far at the park, or if you need her to come back to you quickly. Start at home with a long lead. Hold up her favourite toy or treat, and say ‘come’. When she runs over, give her the toy or treat. Repeat this step until she’s learned it. Now, you’ll be able to lengthen the distance and take it outside (to somewhere that has minimal distractions). Keep working on this, slowly replacing the treat or toy reward with cuddles and affection.
If your pup gets these all mastered, why not move on to some more training commands and tricks?