Did you kick off the new year with a new four-legged family member? How exciting and fun! But also, how stressful and overwhelming! A new dog in the family is filled with lots of joy but also lots of training. Whether your new pal is a spry young puppy, a slow-moving senior, or somewhere in between, training your new family member is essential. It is one of the first ways you establish a relationship with your pet and helps them to understand the boundaries of their new home. It can be daunting trying to figure out where to start but don't worry, we are here to help. We've compiled a list of the five most important commands to teach your dog when you are just starting out.
5 Ideas To Get Started
Sit is the perfect command to start with. It can be used in many instances. Sit allows you to grab your pup's attention before doing whatever task you have planned for them or yourself. It forces your dog to sit in one place and focus on what you are going to do next. To teach your dog to sit, hold a treat above their head and say the command. You may have to give their backend a little nudge down the first few times. Reward them once they sit down. Sit is a great command to build off of too. You can start with making them sit before putting their leash on, before eating their meals, before greeting them when entering, and so much more.
Sometimes your pet can get a little too curious. A great way to prevent them from getting into things they shouldn't is the stay command. This command ensures that your dog will stay in place, regardless of its surroundings. It is an important command for safety too if ever in a dangerous situation. Your dog needs to know the sit command before they can learn stay. Once they can sit, call them into that position and command them to stay. Then give a release command, like "okay" or "done". Reward them if they do not move from their sit, and start over if they do. Add increasingly longer times between the stay and release command until your dog is a pro at waiting for the signal. Expert-level pups can be trusted to stay even without someone in the room watching them.
Just like stay, this is an important command to teach your dog. Heel calls your dog to return to your side and match your walking pace. This is a helpful command for every pup, but easily excited and curious pets will benefit most. Whether your dog walks on loose-leash or just has a tendency to wander off, teaching them heel ensures you can keep them with you. Similar to stay, this can help to prevent dangerous situations and injuries from occurring. To train your pup to heel, call the command and point to your side. When your dog joins you, give them a treat. Slowly incorporate walking short distances with them at your side.
The place command trains your dog to return to one specific spot in your home when told. The most common choice is a dog bed, but can also be a comfortably-sized crate, a piece of furniture, or even just an area specifically marked for them. This is a helpful command because it lets you move your dog to a safe place with one word. If you want to avoid your dog seeing the mailman through the window, or want to keep them away from new guests, place gives you an easy way to send them off. To teach this skill, stand by your dog's place with a treat. Call the command, and once your dog is fully within the place, reward them. You can also add the "sit" or "lie down" command as a step if you want.
Sometimes dogs start sniffing into things we don't want them to — trash, human food, stray shoes. Training your dog to ignore things they shouldn't be messing with is essential to keeping your pup healthy and out of trouble. To teach your dog to leave it, you will need two types of treats that look different. A treat and a toy can also work. Hold out the first treat design (or toy) and wait for your dog to start sniffing. Command them to leave it. Once the pup stops investigating, reward them with the other treat. Continue to do this and try different approaches such as leaving the item on the ground in front of them testing their restraint even when the item is left just to them. This will build trust with your dog and allow them to become better behaved even when you are not watching their every move.
Don't wait! Get started training your newest family member today. The sooner your pup starts their training the better you will feel. As your training improves so will your relationship with your pup. Don't forget to shop our latest collars, harnesses, and leashes for all your training endeavors.