Teaching Your Dog Basic Commands for the First Time

Your Body Language is Important

First, your body language can make all of the difference in the way that your dog responds to you. Whether you are simply telling him to come or sit, dogs interpret a human’s body language quite differently then we do.

For example, if we want someone’s attention, we naturally lean forward toward the person we want the attention from; to a dog, leaning forward is a signal of dominance and can be interpreted as threatening.

The same is true when we stroke the top of another person’s head. To us this is usually a sign of affection; to a dog, it is another sign of dominance with the implication of being pushy or aggressive. When the owner avoids dominant body language, a dog is likely to be more willing to obey commands. He is also more likely to feel less intimidated by what your body language is telling him if your gestures are not domineering.

When you are training your dog, you need to think in terms of how he perceives you. Clearly, if you stoop down or turn your back on your dog and tell him to come, he will be more apt to follow your direction because you are in a much more inviting position. You will want your body language to be authoritative, positive and effective, letting him know that you are still the boss but one who is also loving and inviting.

Keep Your Voice Calm

As humans we also tend to use our voices differently than dogs do. If you think of puppies or dogs that are constantly yelping and barking, they seem out of control or excited. It is the dog who is calm and in control who is usually silent.

Dogs relate this behavior to humans in that when a human is yelling he appears out of control and not in command. Therefore, the dog has no interest in listening. In understanding and responding to this way of a dog’s thinking, it will be important to keep your voice firm, calm and low while training your dog. In doing so, your dog will be more apt to listen to you and obey and perhaps even respect you a bit more.

Basic Commands for Every Dog

Teaching your dog the basic commands is one of the best things you can do for your dog, as well as for yourself. It makes life simple for your dog and enables him to know what is expected from him. It helps him to understand his place in the world better.

A dog who is obedient and listens to its owner is one that will thrive while knowing his boundaries. It also creates a close healthy relationship between dog and owner, one that encompasses love and trust.

The basic commands that every dog should learn are:

  • sit.
  • come.
  • down.
  • stay.
  • stand.
  • heel.
  • leave it!
  • fetch.
  • go to your spot.

6 tips to consider while training your dog to learn commands

  1. Don’t expect your dog to learn commands right away. Repetition of any command is the most effective way to teach simple commands to a dog.
  2. Always praise and reward a dog when he does what you want him to do. This will reinforce the behavior that you expect on a continual basis.
  3. Always be consistent and patient. Never punish your dog for not doing what you want him to do. Make certain that he understands your wishes.
  4. Make the training sessions short, fun and to the point.
  5. Take it slow, master one command at a time and incorporate it into the daily routine.
  6. Make certain that the training session is free of distractions so that your dog can focus on the command that you are teaching to him.

Remember, dogs love consistency and being told what to do and you, as the dog owner, can gain control over your pet in any situation. Teaching your dog the basic commands of sit, stay, come, down, and heel will make your life and that of your dog that much easier, not to mention safer.

Teaching Your Dog to ‘Come’ the FIRST Time

The command of ‘come’ is one of the first commands you should teach to your dog or puppy. It not only allows them the freedom to not be on a leash but when they master this command, it can also keep them safe and out of harm’s way during certain situations.

Even if you never intend to have your dog free of a leash, knowing this command will usually keep him out of trouble. In knowing that your dog has learned this command you will always take comfort when the gate has been left opened, if his collar breaks or if his leash slips. It very well could save his life depending on where these mishaps occur.

Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Come

The following tips will be useful in ensuring your dog will want to come the first time he is called:

Whether you want your dog to come or not, always acknowledge his arrival with praise, love, rewards and affection. Let him know that you appreciate his coming to you.

Even if your dog is running toward danger, don’t be tempted to run after him but instead run in the other direction calling him. Dogs are more apt to run after you when you call them but if you are running towards them they are more likely to run further away.

Dogs will more often than not tune an owner out who talks too much. If you save the talking for your commands, the dog will be more inclined to listen when you do talk and tell him to do something.

Keep your dog focused with encouragement when he is coming toward you. If he gets distracted give him a displeased reaction in a different tone, then smile and encourage him to follow through and come to you.

Remember to teach your dog to come in ‘baby steps’. Your dog certainly can’t be expected to come from across the yard when you have been teaching him in the house and he’s been coming to you from one room to another. Gradually progress to longer distances as the learning improves.

In training a dog to come, it will be important for a dog owner to understand that no dog will ever ‘come’ every time you call him. Dogs, unfortunately, are not that reliable but if you teach them using praise and rewards, they will be more inclined to come the first time you call.