By Kelly Marshall
One of the most exciting aspects of getting a dog or puppy is training the pet do follow commands. Sometimes owners overwhelm their dogs by trying to teach too many different and complex commands to their dogs or puppies at the same time. Most breeds of dogs do better learning to master one or possibly two commands at a time, but never all the commands at the same time.
It is important to research how your breed learns best. Some dogs learn by lots or repetition and practice, whereas other breeds learn very quickly and then become bored and disobedient if they are required to constantly repeat already learned commands. Dogs that learn a command and then seem to stop following the command after two or three repetitions in a sort time fall into the second group. Each dog has its own personality so beyond the breed traits you also have to monitor and be aware of your puppy or dog’s personality.
Probably the easiest command to teach most puppies and dogs is the simple “Come”. Dogs naturally love to have human attention and will actively seek out time with their owner and family. As you notice the puppy heading towards you simply say “Come Fido” or whatever the dog’s name is. Always attach the name to the command so the puppy quickly learns their name and will begin to listen for it. A treat or just some praise and attention for coming on command are all that is needed.
One the puppy will come on command; sit is usually the next step. Hold a small treat just above the puppies nose when they are standing. Slowly move the treat back through the air just above their head. The puppy’s nose will naturally follow and the head will tip back, causing the puppy to sit down. As you start to move your and back say “Sit Fido”. As soon as the puppy sits give the treat and lots of praise. Repeat this often, not just when the puppy comes but when they are standing beside you, before you put the leash on, or before you give them a toy. Soon the puppy will learn that sitting is a good thing and they will get positives from the action.
Teaching down is usually easiest from the sitting position. Once the puppy is sitting on command, simply call the puppy and have them sit. Give them a treat and let them know you have another treat in your hand. Like with the start of sit, say “Down Fido” and move the treat down towards the floor and slightly out from the dog’s body. The puppy will naturally follow with its nose. Slowly move the treat forward until the puppy is prone. Immediately give praise and reward with a treat.
If you want to include hand signals with these commands simply start by giving the hand signal with the verbal command. Gradually say the verbal command in a softer voice while continuing with the hand signal. Be sure the signals are very clear and visible to the puppy or dog. If the puppy does not respond to the visual cue be sure that you have their attention. You may need to call the puppies name so they understand that you are about to give a command.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly visit Oh My Dog Supplies.