Training your dog can be a rewarding and challenging experience. Old dogs can learn new tricks, and so can young ones. The basis of all training is a reward/reinforcement system. If your dog does a behavior you want or like, you reward them. If not, you simply ignore them. In this fashion we can learn to make our dog associate commands with an action, and tie it to a reward.
Remember how we’re trying to tie an action we like to a reward? In dog training, we start with teaching your dog to sit. From there it’s simply repetition!
It’s simple, not easy. After you get the basics of this down the concept of teaching your dog anything has been set. If you would like to see someone practicing this, we found a great video.
Teaching your dog to stay
Following our formula of training, the next foundational command is making your dog sit.
- Start by priming them with the command they already know(to sit).
- After rewarding them for following the first command(treat, praise, or toy). Introduce another reward in front of their face.
- They will instinctually try to get their reward. This is okay, it’s natural. What you need to do is put slight pressure on them to separate the reward. While you tie in the command “stay”.
- Gradually start taking your hand away, and repeat the process until they wait longer and longer.
- Reward them to cement the association in their brain.
Another great video we found on this method is here!
Many owners choose to teach their dog to lay down before stay. There is no right or wrong order train your dog. Although basics are thought to be foundational.
Teaching your dog to lay down
Our third and final foundation for commands is the lay down.
- Lure them into the “down” position with a treat. Having them sit first helps them transition to the floor easier.
- Keep the treat close to their nose and bring it to the floor until they’re laying down. Then reward them!
- Repeat, but after the concept is gained start issuing voice commands like “down” while you do it. Eventually you will no longer need to lure your dog into position. The very skilled trainer on youtube demonstrates this with a puppy here.
Rewarding your dog for following a command
As mentioned previously, there are three ways to give positive associations towards whatever you’re trying to teach your dog to do. You wouldn’t want your pristine pet to work for free would you?! Likewise, I wouldn’t go to work if I didn’t get paid.
The three simple ways are a treat, praise, or toys.
Telling your dog no might break up an action, but it’s hard for them to know what exactly they did wrong. So you must work on focusing on ONE thing and isolating it.
For the dog of our household(Delilah), her tennis ball is more desirable than a treat often times. She loves that thing. Good luck on training and let us hear if it goes well! We’re probably the easiest to reach on instagram @ #zeuspetsofficial