Obedience training is the process of teaching your dog to understand and comply with the command given by its owner or handler.  For a dog to be considered obedience trained it must reliably respond each time a command is given. 

freeimage-2178731BALD SENIOR MAN WITH DOG by Starush Dogs aren't born with an understanding of English or any human language however they are born with an innate ability to read and interpret body language and respond to simple sounds.  Dogs find it easy to understand their own canine manner of communicating and therefore we can achieve significantly better and quicker obedience training results, if we humans take the time and trouble to learn their way of communicating, showing and guiding your dog into what’s expected.  Teaching simple word commands and the appropriate body language signals, together with patient, consistent practice in short sessions will give you the results that you want to achieve.

 If group training classes aren’t your thing or work commitments make it difficult to attend weekly training I can give one-to-one instruction on to how to obedience train your dog in your home.  This will be tailor made to you and your dog. 

 Tips for effective obedience training 

All dogs need mind stimulation.  Ways to stimulate your dog are game playing, toys, exercise and of course training.  To effectively train your dog you need to build a relationship with your dog so he trusts you so training needs to be done in conjunction with other activities.  For more information on stimulating your dog: for INDOOR GAMES click here, for OUTDOOR GAMES click here and for EXERCISING YOUR DOG click here.

freeimage-3249547ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL BEING by Jeffdalt When first teaching a command do not “label” the command until they are actually doing it.  For example do not say sit when your dog is standing up.  Say sit when they are actually going into the sit position.  Dogs learn by association so have to actually experience something to understand it.  If you say “sit” when they are standing up then they will think that standing is sit!!  Once a dog understands then you can start to say “sit” beforehand and expect them to sit

 Dogs don't generalize well and they are very context specific. That means that they can't make leaps of understanding the way people do.  Let’s say you go to a dog training class and you learn how to teach your dog to do “down”.  You follow the trainer’s instructions and repeat it in the same location and using the same posture.  You practice it repeatedly and bingo, your dog does a beautiful “down” whenever you ask.  You then go home and excitedly show your family what your dog has just learned and he looks at you blankly.  You naturally think your dog is being “disobedient” but he isn’t.  For your dog, it is a totally new behaviour.  He learnt “down” at the training class and now he has to learn “down” in the front room at home.  So when you teach a new behaviour you have to complete lots of repetitions in different locations and with lots of different distractions before your dog reaches the point where he can generalise and understand that “down” is not relevant to the environment he is in.

 At first keep training to very short 1 or 2 minute sessions split across the day for a maximum of 20 minutes.  It is all too easy for your dog to get frustrated or bored if you over train.  At that point no amount of rewards will re motivate your dog and you can damage your relationship in the process. Always finish a session when you dog is still motivated and enjoying the process. 

Don’t do training after a meal and make sure your dog has had the chance to relieve himself.  You want him to be able to focus. 

 If you have a dog that is a bundle of energy who finds it hard to focus on training a short one to two minutes of game playing beforehand will help him get motivated and ready to engage with you.  

 Do not tell your dog off when you are teaching them new commands.  If he is not getting it right take the view point that you are not communicating effectively. 

Basic Commands

Always start with the basic commands. Dog only need to know these commands to make excellent well behaved companion dogs

Sit: dog is in a sitting position.

Down/lie down: dog lies down on the floor or other surface.

Stay: The dog must remain in the position (sit, down, stand) and location under which the command was given until it is released.

Release/free: tells a dog it released from sitting/staying etc.

Heel/by my side: dog walks on a loose lead by owner’s side. 

Come/Here: dog comes when called (referred to as the recall)

Go to bed:  dog to go to its bed or its crate.  Dog has freedom of movement in that location to stand up, turn around, or lie down, unlike when placed in a Stay

Advanced Commands 

You should consider training at least some advanced commands that help with safety and politeness for example “wait” which will stop him barging in front of you and running out into the road when you open your front door. Breeds which need to have lots of mental stimulation will enjoy the challenge of learning more commands than the basic commands and breeds that have a reputation for stubbornness in basic command training often love to do commands that can be considered “tricks” because of all the attention they get for it.    

 Wait: dog must remain in the position (sit, down, stand) and location under which the command was given until the next command is given (e.g. come)

Back up:  dog backs up on command.

Steady: dog can walk free nearby, but not dash off.

With me: used when walking dog to keep them at owners' side.

Stand:  dog stands up/stands still. Useful for grooming.

Go to a “place”: dog is trained to go to a certain place and stay there until released, usually a place in the house selected by owner

Get in: directs dog to go into the car, crate etc.

Out/Get out: directs dog to get out of car, crate etc

Get down/Off:  directs dog to get down off sofa etc. 

Drop/Drop it: dog drops any item it picks up on command.

Leave/Leave it: directs a dog to not touch an item.

Take/Take it: dog leaves an object untouched until given this command.

Give/Give it: dog has an object in its mouth and "gives" it to its owner.

Bring it: dog brings an object as directed.

Fetch: dog will retrieve a thrown object and bring it back to the one who threw it.

Paw/Shake Hands:  directs dog to lift paw and place it in the hand of the owner as if shaking hands.

High Five: directs dog to lift paw and touch hand of owner. 

Beg/sit pretty:  dog sits on haunches and lifts up front paws up to beg.  Begging is easy for some breeds but uncomfortable for many. 

Speak: dog, will bark once or twice when told to do so.

Hush: stops dog from barking on command

Find it: dog is directed to find an item. 

Catch: dog directed to catch ball/Frisbee etc when thrown in the air. 

Crawl: dog crawls when directed.

Play Dead:  dog rolls on his back and lies still

Complex Commands

Once your dog has learnt some more advanced commands you can then string them together to teach more complex commands.  Initially you will have to instruct your dog through each part of the process before you can stop saying each bit and then just say, for example, “bring your lead”.  In some instances, e.g. rollover, a further new behaviour will need to be taught as part of the process.   

Bring your Lead: dog will "Take it," then "Bring it" then "Drop it" at your feet (or Give It)

Put your toys away: dog will "Take it," then "Bring it" then "Drop it" into the basket/box etc

Bring my slippers: dog will "Take it,"  "Bring it" then "Give it” to you.

Rollover: dog will “Lie Down” “Rollover” “Stand”.       

 Bang!: dog will “lie down” “crawl” and “play dead”.

For further information and to find out how I can help you with your dogs' training needs

Call Freephone 0808 100 4071



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