Essential Commands

Teach your dog to sit

  1. With your dog in a standing position, hold a tasty treat near their nose.
  2. Keeping the treat near your dogs nose, move your hand in an arc over his head. As the dog raises his head to follow the treat, his bottom will go on the floor. The instant he sits, praise him and give him the treat.
  3. Keeping the treat near your dogs nose, move your hand in an arc over his head. As the dog raises his head to follow the treat, his bottom will go on the floor. The instant he sits, praise him and give him the treat.
  4. As the dog always gets a treat for sitting you'll soon find he sits for longer. You can now add the cue word "sit" as he goes to sit. Be careful not to say it before your dog moves into position or they may associate it with the wrong movement.
  5. As the dog always gets a treat for sitting you'll soon find he sits for longer. You can now add the cue word "sit" as he goes to sit. Be careful not to say it before your dog moves into position or they may associate it with the wrong movement.
  6. Give an 'okay' cue to let your dog know when their training has ended.

Teach your dog to Stay

 

  1. For the sit/stay, tell your dog to sit in front of you, and then give the stay command. Take one step backward, and immediately step toward him again. If he has maintained his position, issue a yes! and reward him.
  2. Keep repeating Step 1, but gradually increase the number of steps you walk away from your dog. Always walk all the way back to him before issuing a yes! and rewarding him. Don’t give him a stay and then call him to come to you. This might result in your dog learning that stay means “stay for a little while and then come,” and he’ll never hold a stay for very long.
  3. If he keeps breaking the stay, you may be progressing too fast, in which case you need to shorten the amount of distance and time you expect him to remain in position.
  4. With a gradual increase in the amount of distance and time you ask your dog to stay, he will eventually be able to remain stationary when you cross the entire room.
  5. Then he’ll be ready to learn the out-of-sight stay. Give the stay command, and take one step out of the room (out of your dog’s range of sight). Immediately step back into the room and return to your dog. If he has maintained his position, issue a yes! and reward him.
  6. Gradually increase the amount of time you expect your dog to remain in stay when you are out of sight. Soon, he will stay anchored in position for as long as you like, regardless of whether or not he can see you.
  7. For other stay positions, like stand/stay or down/stay, teach your dog the position command first, then repeat these steps with him in that position.

Teach your dog to Come when called

  1. Start off positive. Dogs are sensitive to people’s vocal tones and moods, so you will need to foster a positive environment for your companion. Make sure you have the time and patience available to train your dog successfully.
  2. Keep training sessions short. Dogs, like people, have short attention spans, and will not necessarily learn more or better if they train for a longer length of time. Multiple short daily sessions can help your dog retain what they’ve learned, while also establishing a routine. Keep a consistent regimen when training your dog to reinforce good behaviors and healthy patterns.
  3. Use your hands and voice. At the start of your dog training session, ask your dog to sit. Put your hand out, and say the word “stay” in a happy or positive tone. You want your dog to start associating the verbal cue and visual gesture with staying in place. Repeat this action a few times before moving or saying anything else, so your dog learns to associate the command with the action.
  4. Test it out. Once your dog can sit and stay in place with you in front of them, take a few steps backward for the first time to see if they remain in the stay position. In the beginning, your dog will likely get up and follow you. If this happens, use a firmer tone of voice to let them know the behavior is wrong, place them back in position, and do not reward them. If you move away from your dog and they stay, use positive reinforcement like verbal praise, training treats, or a favorite toy to reward them for their success. (However, make sure you do not move away with a treat already in your hand, as it will lure your dog out of the sit position).
  5. Establish a release word. When your dog has “stayed” for an adequate amount of time, use a release cue, and gesture to signal the command is over. You can drop your hand and say “come” to let your dog know they should come to you. The tone you use for your release word should not be the same tone that you use for rewards, as you do not want to teach your dog that they get a treat every time they come over to you.
  6. Increase the distance. During every training session, move farther away from your dog at incrementally longer amounts of time when testing their ability to stay. If your dog stays, walk over to them and give them their reward. Do not call your dog to come to you for the reward, as they will start associating the reward with getting up, rather than staying. You should also practice leaving your dog’s sight completely before giving the release word, so they do not expect to always be called out of the stay position right away.
  7. Repeat. Repeat these training sessions as necessary until your dog learns to obey the command.

Teach your dog to 'Leave it'

  1. Place ab treat in your fist. Let your dog try in any way possible to get the treat out of your hand including pawing, licking, and nosing your hand.
  2. As soon as your dog stops trying to get the treat, mark the moment with a clicker, marker word like “yes,” or praise. Then, immediately open your fist, say “take it,” and offer your dog the treat. The point is to show that not paying attention to the treat is precisely what earns the treat.
  3. After several tries, your dog should start pulling back from your fist or ignoring the treat. Now, wait for a second or two before saying “take it” and offering the treat.
  4. Place the treat on your open palm. If your dog tries to get the treat, close your fist around it and wait for your dog to ignore it. Once your dog does ignore it, say “take it”, and offer the treat.