The 7 Most Important Dog Training Skills

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While training dogs is a lifelong endeavor, specific abilities are more important than others. You’ll be laying the foundation for your dog’s behavior and companionship if you master these basic dog training skills.

These are the essential skills to teach your dog, whether you recently adopted a puppy, adopted a dog from a shelter, or wanted to brush up on training an older dog (and yourself).

Before you begin, review the foundations of dog training. To help your dog respond trustworthily in every situation, be patient, optimistic, and conscious of your body language, work in bursts (10–15 minute training sessions at a time), and offer variety.

Training your dog to go inside

Essential elements of potty training are consistency, patience, and positive reward. Initially, start the basics:

  • Take care of your dog. When you first begin to house-train your dog, restrict her access to other sections of the house, whether that means shutting off bedroom doors or crate-training her so she has her own space.
  • Establish a schedule. Dogs are animals that prefer routine. You can train her to “go” at specific times every day by feeding your dog at the same time and giving her regularly spaced walks and outside toilet breaks.
  • Never punish your dog for going potty indoors. Accidents occur because dogs don’t understand cause and effect the same way humans do. Clean up the mess, tell yourself that things will get better as you are more consistent, and then go forward.
  • Reward your dog for good behavior. Please give her a treat as soon as she uses the potty in the correct location.

Practical dog training requires persistence, consistency, and positive reward.

The “Come” Training of Your Dog

Coming when called is a fundamental command to keep your dog safe in potentially dangerous situations. Because it makes everything safer and much simpler to control, including excursions to the dog park and uncomfortable circumstances like her rushing out the door, it is also known as “recall training.” “Make it a party” each time your dog comes when called. Whatever they leave behind, coming to you should be the most pleasing thing they do all day!

Start off on a leash in a calm setting to train your dog to come when called. Move enthusiastically back from her while calling your dog to come. Only give the command once, but be passionate and display an open, carefree demeanor. You can hold up a treat to get your dog to head you. As soon as she starts to travel in your direction, say “yay!” (or click), and then reward her with a treat.

You can start working out in various situations and progressively increase your distance from your dog.

Training Your Dog to Stay

To teach your dog to “stay,” you must do more than get them to sit still. Like “come,” it’s a command that can keep her safe from harm.

Your dog’s “stay” skills can be improved by employing the Three D’s of training.

  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Distraction

Get close to your dog and start her to sit or lie down as you begin. Say “Stay” while holding your hand. After a short period, reward her. Repeat this until your dog understands that she will get a treat if she keeps her sit or down position.

During training sessions, keep a greater distance from your dog, wait longer before releasing her, and introduce distractions to test your dog’s willpower.

Keep in mind the three D’s of training: distance, duration, and distraction.

The best way to train your dog is to leave it.

The command “leave it” is essential for keeping your dog safe, whether from anything they might pick up and ingest or another dog growling at them from across the street. Aside from that, it is a skill that takes time and consistency to acquire, so be mindful of going slowly and building on the three Ds above.

To teach your dog to “leave it,” start with a treat in your hand and put him in a sit or down position:

  • Present your dog with the treat, command him to “leave it,” and then tuck the treat under your shoe.
  • Wait. Your dog may lick, sniff, or paw at your foot to get the treat. Give a stab at it. When she eventually gives up, say “yes!” and give her pleasure from your hand (not the one still tucked under your shoe).
  • Repeat. Your dog might start smelling your foot once more, but as soon as she pauses and looks in the right head, reward her a treat by rewarding the correct behavior with a “yes” or a click.

Once your dog has mastered the art of ignoring a hidden treat, you can work to a joy that is eventually visible to everyone before “leaving” more seductive distractions. The next step will be to have her walk by and “leave” the ground to put the training into practice.

The Best Way to train Your Dog to Sit

Dogs usually learn “sit” as their first command because it is helpful in so many situations. Most dogs actually “sit” spontaneously; all you have to do is connect the power to the behavior.

When your dog stands, hold a treat in front of her nose and lift it slowly toward the back of her head. As soon as her head follows the joy upward, she will lower her butt. As soon as her butt touches the ground, say “yay!” and give her the treat.

Once a treat regularly gets your dog to sit, you may move on to using hand gestures and voice commands.

Since most dogs will “sit” on their own, you must connect the command to the desired behavior.

How to Train Your Dog to Sit

To help your dog understand the “down” command, just like “sit,” you can use a treat bait.

  • Put your dog in front of you to start.
  • Near her face, place a treat.
  • Slowly move the treat away from the dog after slowly moving it to the ground. She will eventually push her front foot forward in reaction to the joy and lie down.
  • Always move slowly and clearly! Once your dog has sat down, say “yes!” and give her the treat.
  • Repeat.

Training Your Dog Patience

Giving your dog the “settle” command is a great way to help anxious or fearful dog control their emotional responses. Like sitting, settling is an independent behavior exhibited by dogs. Your goal in this situation is to connect a cue to a well-known behavior.

To train your dog to “sit,” leash her and take a seat. Please keep your dog close. Give them enough room to sit, stand, turn around, and step on the leash. And a pause. Your dog can be highly eager at first and try to gallop around the room or leap onto your lap. Let her understand that she has nowhere to go. Once she has calmed down on her own, say “yes!” and give her a treat.

Once your dog has settled down on her own, it is time to introduce the cue. Once your dog has calmed down, you can gradually “back up” the line to the beginning of the method.

Dogs scared or worried can learn to manage their emotional reactions by using the command “settle.”

Laying a solid basis for your dog’s training will make a living with them more straightforward and enjoyable. Working with a professional in person is the most excellent way to train your dog; sign up for an in-person obedience class if you don’t work where to start.