5 Things All Dogs Should Know




About: I've been training dogs since I was 8 years old. I love Border Collies, Dachshunds, and bully breeds. I train in agility, obedience, and rally-o

We all want  a well behaved dog; especially if you have children, neighbors, family, and possibly a girl/guy friend. So what are the basics to a good dog?
There are many things every dog should know, but sadly as we all know there are a lot of things
(that are very important) that most dogs don't know.
What it all comes down to is the trust an bond you have with your dog, 
Remember, a good dog doesn't do tricks, a good dog listens and obeys out of respect not fear or dominance. 

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Step 1: "No" & "Yes!"

The 1st "No" is not "NO!" and "Yes" should be "YES!!"
When we first get our dogs we like to make sure they know who's boss. "No!" This word is thrown around very loosely around dogs.
My belief is "No!" should be "No." Firm and calm, not controlling and angry. 
Don't be fooled into thinking 'My dog is an ancestor of the wolf therefore i need to dominate him.'
We domesticated dogs to work with us, so why are we so convinced that they don't want to respect us and listen to us?
Dogs where created to do work on our behalf, any dog that is misbehaving is crying out for you to pay attention and to listen.
There are very few cases where you do need to tend to the dog's behavior due to abuse and sociological damage; i seen several dogs with this problem their owners are very pleased with the work I've done. 

Once you begin to work with your dog you must give the right responses. 
for example:
let's say you are trying to teach your dog the "Down" command.
Instead of down, your dog sits.
Do not ever use "No." EVER! "No" is for when your dog has and accident on your carpet, not for a wrong command.

Once your dog does the command right it's not. "Yes"
You need to freak out (positively) with praise. "Yes" needs to be "YESS!! WHAT A GOOD DOG!!!!" then a thousand kisses.
That way your dog is extremely sure of what it is you want him to do.

Step 2: "Listen to Me/ Watch Me"

This is the attention getter.
When your dog hears this his ears should go up, and his eyes should be on you; waiting for a command.
Most people will use their dog's call name for this. I think the the call name is for getting your dog to come to you and this command is for getting your dog's attention. 

This command is easily taught with a small reward. Give the dog the command to "Watch me", "Listen up", "Listen to me." (i've also heard people who have multiple dogs use their names in the command, EX. "Rover listen up!")
(never alternate between the three, simply pick one; don't confuse your dog.)
Then once the command is given put the reward to your eyes until your dog makes eye contact, even if it's just for a moment. 
Then reward with dog with a big "YES!"

Step 3: Let's Walk

While walking on a leash is a very difficult task for some dogs, for others it's as natural as eating. I do not condone the usage of prong collars, harnesses, choke chains, or flat collars. I use no collar or leash unless i am required to (city walking), in which case i use a flat collar or depending on the dog's training level or bond with me a chain collar. 

Steps for an easy walk:

1: Make sure your collar is properly fitted and safe for your dog. If you are using a dominance collar (chain collar or prong collar) make sure the collar is high on the neck. 
2. Make sure you do not walk with a retractable leash, you will have little to no control over your dog. 
3. Place your dog beside you, allow him some room to walk don't attach him to your hip.
If your dog pulls put a small reward in front of their face, this is known as baiting*
4. After baiting your dog for a while reward the dog with the treat. Do not become over excited because you will excite the dog and the unwanted behavior of pulling will return. 

* Baiting is a way to distract your dog, while keeping his attention. Put the treat between your thumb and index finger and hold it there with a small amount of the treat sticking between your fingers. Hold the treat to your dog's nose and aloow him/her to nibble on it. Look at the picture for an example. Once you dog has done the task you wanted, reward the dog by opening your hand and reveling the treat to them.*

Step 4: "It's Nothing/ Leave It/ Doesn't Matter"

Your dog know the attention getter, now what about the ignorance? 
I like to use this command when i'm walking my dogs. Let's say i'm walking my dogs in the dog park (off lead.) And their favorite thing comes up, a large gross puddle of murky water. i can quickly give the command of "Leave it!" and my pack will walk around it. 
Now don't expect your dog to completely leave any object alone after this command. They will usually continue to try to sniff and look interested in the object (they'e a lot like kids.) Don't get upset when this happens as long as they aren't trying to bite, chew, or pick up the object they listened to your command. 
This also works well i you have small children, your dog might try to sniff their face.

The easiest way to teach your dog this command is to:
1. Put a toy in front of the dog
2. As soon as your dog attempts to sniff it; brush his nose away with your hand while giving the command.
3. Once your dog's eyes leave the object and look at you or somewhere else give the dog a reward. (This make take a while depending on how determined and play driven your dog is. Be patient) 

Step 5: "Stay Back!"

This command is often used to keep a dog from bolting out the door.
It's very simple to teach. (Keep your dog on lead until he waits for you to let him out)

1. Grab the handle of your door, if your dog runs in front of you, his nose against the door. Or he is right at your heals; toss back your foot gently, and tell him to "Stay back" 
2. Your dog may simply ignore you and keep trying to push his way out. So don't open the door, just grab the handle and give it a twist, if he remains calm and keeps his distance, reward him. 
3. whenever you go to your door give this command even if you are going on a walk, repletion is key.

Step 6: Treats or Toy?

This isn't part of the 5 steps; it's simply to let you know when to use a toy or a treat. 
Now if your dog is only motivated by treats or toys then only use a treat or toy. But if your dog loves both treats and toys here's what you need to know.

Toy opportunities: Any physical training! Such as agility, fly ball, or if you want to do a trick that involves jumping or some other extreme movement. Once your dog preforms the trick you want, give the toy a quick toss and the reward has been given. Remember only use toys if your dog has been trained to bring it back to you. 

Treat opportunities: When you need a quick reward. Almost any other time when playing isn't appropriate or is too energetic for the dog. When you want the dog calm and completely attentive i'd use a treat.  

Step 7: Questions?

If you have a question post it or message me!

I have trained for Greater Lincoln Obedience club, also i train dogs in the foster program for shelters. 
I am pro spay and neuter.
I am anti breed specific legislation. 
And i love dogs!!

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    31 Discussions


    3 years ago

    there's an angry unpredictable factor in the household... it's complicated


    3 years ago

    there's an angry unpredictable factor in the household... it's complicated


    3 years ago

    the article rocks btw! I'm not a fan of food rewards as much as the joyful praise thing. I'm still in training myself to remember they are never being bad, they always want to please. it's up to me to tune into their non human purity.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Do people actually get paid to make these articles? I hope they don't because this is a horriblly written article(good pointers but WAY too many errors) If they do you would think they would proof read their work. So many errors in this article it was ridiculous to read it and get through it.

    Their is nothing worse than having to read an article that has so many mistakes. Please try to fix that. So many articles on this site has so many errors.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    what's it to you if they are compensated for these articles? with or without errors? errors offend you? perhaps proper grammar takes a back seat to her life's work?...


    Reply 4 years ago

    The training tips and advice in this Instuctable are quite helpful I will agree that there are some obvious typos but that hardly diminishes the value of the article and you may want to proof read your comment as well I think you meant to use there not their


    4 years ago

    Hi, I have an issue with my 6 month old Labrador. We also have a golden retriever that's 2 years old - he's well behave and calm the majority of the time. When the puppy is at home with our goldie, he is well behaved but when I take them on walks together, he is uncontrollable and won't listen to any commands. But when I walk him alone he is perfectly obidient and calm dog. I don't know how to get him to listen to me when I take them both for a walk... Any tips?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have something maybe you can help me with. I have a 1.5 year old male weim I have had since he was about 9 months old. He is okay with most of the things you have on the list but I am having major issues with the watch me. I have tried dog treats, toys, people food and even baby food. My dog is not interested enough in them to ignore something outside. In the house he is great I can get him to do a long list of tricks. He will even take his dog food as a treat in the house. The times I have trouble with is if someone comes to the house or we go for a walk he is so interesed in everything else I can't keep his attention on me. I even tried using peanutbutter and cheese to help get his attention but even knowing I have it and will give him some he is to interested in everything else. Now I have been able to get him to walk okay with a harness and sometimes his collar but every now and then he will get to a point where he wants to tear off after a squirl or rabbit and he will pull till he can't breath and he can't take his eyes off of whatever it is that is so interesting. Sometimes I can tell him leave it and he will stop and watch it and look back a few times and sometimes wimper but then will ignore it and start walking nice again. But other times he trys everything to getoff leash and after what he wants. He has gotten out of 4 different harnesses and unless his collar is digging into his neck he can get out. I have been able to make a collar that is similar to a choke collar but will only get to the point where it is slightly tighter than a normal collar but I would like to have an alternative. I have been able to teach my dog "wait" and he knows to do it at each corner and I will throw it in at a few random spots on walks and he listens to that 85% of the time without to much issue and that has saved him a few times when he has gotten away from me by getting out of his collar or harness but I would like to have something on hand that he would want to come back to that othe 15% of the time. Is there anything you can think of that may work with a dog who has not interest in any type of normal rewards?

    3 replies

    For this I'd use a clicker to get the dog used to a clear reward command. The click tells the dog that whatever he's doing at the moment of the click is correct. If you look up on youtube "what is clicker training, kiko pup" and watch the video by Kikopup it should tell you how to clicker train. Do a lot of training with the clicker indoors and do all your tricks with the clicker. Once the dog is to the point where when he hears the click his ears perk up you can start this process.
    So first i'd get a gentle leader harness for him. When he sees an object remain completely calm and put him in a down and step on the lead. No matter how much he struggles or the looks you get by passing people this will help him.
    Kneel down to his level (still stepping on the lead) and give the command watch me. If he doesn't look it's no big deal just wait until he does. It could take a while. The moment he looks in even your general direction, click and give him tons of praise.
    Don't get up and start to walk again until he his relaxed, and yes that can take a while. It isn't an unusual behavior I see it alot. My own personal dog a little dachshund has this same problem.
    Dispite his size he's very strong. He wouldn't take any treat in public so we did a lot of indoor work. He's at the point now (after 9 years) were he'll only take a treat outdoor while in the front yard or backyard.
    Some dogs are funny that way. However the gentle leader harness broke his pulling problem pretty fast and helped with his training a lot.

    I wish you luck and write me back upon a how it goes.
    Also that youtube channel; Kikopup. She's an amazing trainer i encourage you to watch some of her videos. Also for training on distractions look up "dog friendly dog training" by Ian Dunbar.
    Good luck!


    I'll give that a try. He has a gentle lead harness that goes around the body I just had to make a strap that also clips to his collar because he slips out of it if he really wants to. He knows he is not suppose to so most of the time he is okay. I saw they also have a head harness gentle leader and we tried it but all he does is lay down and try to pull it off. But I'll check the you tube videos. Thanks


    I like gentle leader halters too. They do require about 2 months of training before you can use them in training. So many dogs have the reaction he does. You can totally use the head harness but i'd read up on the training for it. I haven't used a halti in a while so i don't remember all the training for it.

    Just be gentle and be positive and over time he'll get the message that only by being calm does he get what he wants.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Why would you be against harnesses?? They take potential pressure off the neck. Sure, there is oppositional reflex but that only occurs if your dog isn't taught loose leash walking. I walk all dogs on harnesses.

    1 reply
    Dogs and Songsmsminnamouse

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 3

    I purely speak on behalf of my own dogs and dogs i train. I believe a walk is one where your dog isn't physically tied to you. I prefer to teach dogs, who may have never been walked before, to walk beside me without a lead.
    Baiting a dog and walking is a very simple tool that can lead to an easy relationship and understanding between you can your dog. It also assits into an extremely easy transition into off lead agility.
    I also said i disagree with the use of flat collar, even though my own dogs have one on all the time. I simply prefer off lead walking unless required to have a lead.
    The only devices i truely disagree with are dominance devices.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very well written. I have to use a collar for my dog's rabies tag and ID tag, when I tried to take her on walks with just a collar she jerked and pulled so much that I was afraid she would injure her throat, so I used a harness. As soon as I got to our designated walking area, I have a 30 acre tract of untouched land near my home, I say stop, I unclip her leash and say okay. She is off like a shot exploring and having a blast.
    I now use just a collar and she doesn't pull at all. She is a very loving and loyal dog. Second Blue Heeler I've had.

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I was having problems with my dogs pulling and coughing. So I got one of those halters that are low across their chest, when you pull back, it pulls their front feet back a bit. My lab and my shih tzu both walk now with a loose leash. If they notice they are getting too far ahead of me, they stop and wait for me now.

    Dogs and Songswahela

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    yes i have a cousin who has used that device on her boxer. I do not prefer harnesses simply because i find it very hard to train with. I am happy you have found what works for your dog!

    Dogs and Songshjjusa

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool. I've taken blue heelers to agility completions for a friend. They are amazing listeners!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have a shih tzu that is so smart (I just have to brag), once he figures out what you want him to do, its one or two tries, and he learns to do the trick. I put a broomstick on the floor, and told him "jump", he walked over the stick. I did that a few times, then I lifted the broomstick about 2", said "jump". and he walked over it, getting a treat every time, of course. Now we are up to about 10" and he started jumping over it at about 3" in height. He loves to jump over it. Now I'm going to start switching over to my hands hooked together in a circle. He's very food driven, will do anything for praise and food. Now if I could just teach him to ":speak". Every time he tries to speak, he sneezes. I have a video of him sneezing every time I ask him to speak. I get so tickled that I end up giving him the treat anyway. I know, I know, I am reinforcing him to sneeze instead of speak. But he does get enough speaking done when he sees the mailman. lol


    7 years ago on Step 7

    We have a 15 month old boarder collie/kelpie that is very smart but also very hyper. She wants to jump up on us and even worse our guests. I don't know how to break her of this. We own a RV Park and can't have her jumpng up on our guests! Thank You for your help.