A dog should be trained and you should start early. It is easier to train a puppy. Older dogs are not impossible to train but they are quite rigid. They tend to become slow learners as they age. A young, energetic and more manageable puppy will easily learn the essential commands.
When you issue a command, use the command loud and clear, only once and distinctly without uttering any other word, wait for your dog to act, which it wouldn’t on the very first day. Be consistent, patient and make it a habit. If you are teaching ‘sit’, then just say ‘sit’ and wait for your dog to sit. Don’t use ‘sit down’ or any other word. Don’t say ‘sit sit’. Dogs understand simple words and only a word at a time. They cannot process sentences or even phrases.
Most dogs will sit after getting tired of the same word and waiting for you to do something else. Then you can give them a treat or smile or just cuddle it to express your pleasure. The dog will associate sitting with having done something good and would get accustomed with the word ‘sit’ that means they must repeat the act.
Similar approaches will work for stand, come, drop it, leave it, off, no and okay. But in some cases, you would need gestures. For instance, ‘stay’ may not really tell a dog much but if you use your hand or fingers to gesture a dog to be at a particular place, showing them the direction and then treating them when they get there and sit, the dog will associate ‘stay’ with the act. Whenever you use the command, the dog will stay put. Do the same with commands like ‘leave it’ and ‘off’. Use ‘leave it’ while you try to remove an object from your dog’s mouth and give them a treat or just a pat on their head. The dog would know they are supposed to let things go when asked to ‘leave it’. With ‘off’, just pick them up from your shoulder or chest and put them down on the couch or the ground. The dog will start to understand what ‘off’ means.
Start with one command at a time. Always use the same command or the dog would get confused. Don’t use too many gestures or conflicting commands. Master a command and then move onto another. Keep using the commands and get others in your home to issue the commands as well. That way, the dog would get accustomed with the word and not just your gesture, facial expression and treat. Use commands everywhere you go with your dog because otherwise it would only listen to you at home and not even in your yard. Don’t stop issuing commands, ever.
In this guide, we shall talk about some easy commands to teach your dog and how to do it. Here are the quintessential commands.
Step 1: 'Sit'
Use the command ‘sit’ whenever you want your dog to sit at one place. The command works best when your dog is standing, ideally close to you. Whenever you say ‘sit’, your dog must sit down exactly where she is right now.
Step 2: 'Come'
‘Come’ is another quintessential command. Use this command whenever you want the dog to come to you. When your dog learns the two commands, come and sit, she would often learn to follow up one action after the other. So ‘come’ and then ‘sit’ used for a while will get your dog to come to you and then sit down wherever you are. Also, if your dog is a little away from you and you call out ‘sit’, it may come over and sit next to you. ‘Come’ is an important command as you need to keep your dog away from threats.
Step 3: 'Drop It'
‘Drop it’ is an imperative command, especially for dogs that wouldn’t let go of things that they have put in their mouth. Repeat the command with the act of removing things from their mouth and they would learn to drop it when asked.
Step 4: ‘Leave It’
‘Leave it’ is a command similar to ‘drop it’ but it includes not chasing something they should, coming back to you or just resting wherever they are. At times, dogs want something that they fancy and that is not always possible or available. ‘Leave it’ will take care of such instances.
Step 5: ‘Wait’
‘Wait’ is a little harder for a dog to respond to. But over time, a dog will learn to just stand or sit and wait or be a little less restless.
Step 6: ‘Stay’
‘Stay’ is another relatively harder command but once the dog understands, it would stop running out of the door, chasing a cat or would just stop jumping up and down and messing the house.
Step 7: ‘Okay’
You should train your dog to understand ‘okay’. This is to undo the commands you may have issued a while back. If you ask your dog to sit and you don’t issue any other command, obedient dogs wouldn’t move for a long time. Some may even fall asleep there. ‘Okay’ will tell them that they can be their selves again.
Step 8: ‘No’
Dogs can understand ‘no’. Many dog owners try to teach the canines ‘yes’. Dogs respond better to ‘no’ than ‘yes’.
Step 9: ‘Stand’
‘Stand’ is a fairly simple command to teach your dog. This command would be used when you want your dog to stand from a seated or lying down position.