Whether you’ve just recently bought home your new fur baby, or your canine friend has been part of the family for years, it is important to make sure your dog is well trained. Basic dog training is essential to owning a puppy or dog and will not only make you and your pup look good to your neighbours and friends but is also vital for daily doggy life. A well-trained dog will be much easier to care for and take out and about and will save you the hassle of having to clean up little accidents. Dog obedience is all about being well trained and behaved, and when your pup has nailed basic dog training you will have a higher level of trust in them, making every aspect of both your lives easier and happier. No more worrying about leaving them home alone whilst you’re out at work, and you can relax knowing you can take your four-legged friend out and about with you without issues.
It can be overwhelming knowing where to start when it comes to tricks to teach your dog and where to begin with basic dog training. You might find yourself wondering how to potty train your dog, how to train your dog to sit, how to train your dog not to bark and how to train your dog to roll over? This ultimate guide in dog obedience for your dog or puppy will help to answer your basic dog training questions and concerns, and who you some tricks to teach your dog.
How to potty train your dog
Potty training or house training your dog is essential for both of you and should ideally be taught as soon as you bring your puppy home. When it comes to how to potty train your dog it is all about patience, consistency and positive reinforcement, you want to build a loving relationship with your new furry friend whilst also teaching them good habits. Dogs are creatures of habit, so it is important to get them into their potty-training routine as early as possible. As with anything, there is no quick fix or easy solution for how to potty train your dog; it will take time, effort and patience from both of you.
When it comes to how to potty train your dog, it can vary depending on your home situation and set up, a dog that has easy access to a garden or constant supervision will be able to learn to go outside from day one. Homes with limited outdoor access or puppy parents that are out at work all day will usually be better of starting puppy potty training with indoor pads. Both methods are similar in terms of how to potty train your dog, and there are some general rules that should be followed during the process:
Choose a potty training area: As soon as your furry friend enters their new home, they should have a designated potty training area set out for them. This might be a section of the garden or a puppy pad somewhere indoors, but it needs to be an area that is kept consistent for your dog.
Set a tone: Introduce a phrase or saying to your dog that they can associate with going to the bathroom. Once you have decided on a phrase, use it every time you take your dog to their designated potty-training area. Always try to use the same tone and phrase so that they learn to associate it with going to the bathroom; make sure everyone in the family is consistent in using the same phrase. Use different phrases for fun activities for your dog such as going outside for walks or playing.
Regular trips: Take your puppy to their potty-training area frequently, this will prevent accidents and get them used to the place they should be going. Aim to take your dog every 30 minutes during the potty-training period, and always after eating and drinking or when they first wake up. It will feel a bit over the top and like you are spending a lot of time taking them in and out during the first few weeks, however this effort will pay of as your canine companion starts to learn where they should be going.
Praise and positivity: In the first few weeks make sure you are always going outside with your puppy, and when they do go to the bathroom be sure to praise them. This positive reinforcement assures them that they are doing the right thing, making them want to please you again and again.
No punishments: Dogs respond to positive feedback and are well-known to want to please their puppy parents. When potty training you should never punish your dog for having an accident, simply move them to the correct area and continue with the training routine. Reprimanding a puppy during house training can hinder the process as they will associate the punishment with you or with the location they are in at the time.
Establish a routine: Your dog should be fed two or three times a day depending on its age. It is important to feed them at the same time every day so as to get them on a consistent schedule. This regularity will really help when it comes to house training. Be mindful not to feed your four-legged friend large amounts just before bed time or before leaving them alone and inside for any length of time.
Supervise: When you are first starting out your potty training with your pup, always supervise them and stay in the same room as them as much as possible. If they look as if they are about to go to the bathroom in the wrong place, you will be on hand to quickly move them to their designated potty-training area. The more they start to learn, the more freedom you can start to give them.
Stay calm: If you do see your puppy going in the wrong place, calmly interrupt them and move them outside to finish. Do not use any correction language such as ‘no’, this will teach your dog they aren’t allowed to go to the bathroom in your presence, which is not at all what you want to achieve. Don’t get angry or annoyed as your dog can often pick up on these emotions, simply clean away the mess and continue with your pups training routine.
The time it takes to potty train a dog varies and there is no set time for you to follow, keep going with the routine and rules and when your pup is ready and trained you will know. They will begin asking to go outside or making their way to the designated potty training area by themselves, and eventually they won’t need your help at all. During the house training process always remember that accidents do happen, and they aren’t a bad thing, it is all part of the learning process for your fur baby.
Be mindful when taking your dog to new places or homes that they may need a quick bit of refresher training. Whilst your hound may be perfectly trained in your home, in a new environment they may need some reassurance and confirmation on where the new bathrooms are. This can be the case in both puppies and older dogs, even the most well-trained dog might need some potty training help in a brand new area.
How to train your dog to sit?
One of the most basic and useful commands to teach to any dog is to sit, it comes in useful in all kinds of situations and is a really easy to place to start when you are planning on training them further. How to train your dog to sit is actually a really simple process, but like anything in dog training, it takes time, effort and dedication. Once your pup has mastered the sit command, it will suddenly become invaluable to yours and their lives. It allows you to safely cross the road with your four-legged friend as they can sit patiently at the kerb, and you can relax knowing that when you take your dog to meet new people you have full control and can prevent them from jumping up.
Whilst many dog owners seem to think all dogs will just know what ‘sit’ means without any prior training, this is never the case. Just saying ‘sit’ at an untrained dog will just confuse the poor pup, and actually the verbal command doesn’t need to be used until the sit action has been mastered. It is important to achieve the desired reaction from your dog before labelling it with a command word. You might be wondering where to start on how to train your dog to sit without using command words, follow this simple process to learn how to train your dog to sit easily:
- Ensure your dog is focused and you have their full attention. This can be tricky with puppies who are easily distracted but it is essential that your dog is focused and actively participating in the training.
- Whilst your dog is in a standing position in front of you, hold a treat in your hand and hold it near their nose, then raise it straight up to just above their head. The logic here is that whatever a dog’s nose does, their behind will do the opposite; as they raise their nose to follow the treat, they will naturally sit on the floor. When your pup sits, praise them verbally and give the treat as a reward. Be careful not to move your hand towards you whilst holding the treat as this will encourage your dog to chase as opposed to stay.
- Repeat this process regularly and make sure you and your dog have frequent but short training sessions. A small amount of time every day is a good to aim for when training your dog how to sit.
- The more you train the better at this your dog will become, they will start to sit for longer. At this stage it is time to introduce ‘sit’ as the command word. Start to say the word ‘sit’ just before raising the treat to begin training your dog to associate the command with the action. It is important not to say sit at the same time as raising the treat, as your dog will already be focused on the treat as opposed to the verbal cue.
- Continue to practice frequently, this time with the command word included.
- After time, your dog will learn what ‘sit’ means and the command can start to be used during the day and on walks.
Some puppy parents prefer not to use treats during training, and the sit command can also be trained without treats. Follow the below steps on how to train you dog to sit without treats:
- Once again, ensure your dog is fully focused and you have their attention.
- Put your dog on a lead and position him on your left-hand side, whilst holding the lead in your right hand.
- Slightly lift the lead upwards and simultaneously apply a light pressure onto your dog’s lower back/hips to encourage them into the sitting position.
- As you put your dog into the sitting position, say the command ‘sit’. Unlike the treat method, you can introduce the action word immediately as your dog will interpret this approach differently.
- Repeat the process frequently in short sessions until you dog can sit on command without your guidance.
How to train your dog not to bark
If you’ve got a dog that likes to be vocal, you will be fully aware of how problematic it can be. Dog barking can result in tension between you and your dog, annoy neighbours and cause issues on walks and when out and about. When it comes to how to train your dog not to back, it is vital to figure what is causing the behaviour. Dogs will bark for a lot of different reasons and understanding what is causing your four-legged friend to bark is the first and most important step.
There a range of reasons that can cause a dog to bark, it is their main form of communication and so they use it for a variety of emotions and situations. You dog might be frightened, feeling threatened, want to play, trying to warn you of danger, or even just bored. Some dog breeds have more of a tendency to bark, such as Terriers and Beagles, do some research on your dog breed to find out if your pup is prone to barking because of their breed. Spend some time trying to figure out what might be causing your dog to bark, if they bark during the day whilst you’re out then ask neighbours if they see or hear anything, walk around the block and listen and look out for potential triggers, if all else fails, try setting up a camera to keep an eye on your pup whilst you’re out. You might find there is a simple solution to your dog barking.
If barking persists, then it is time to learn how to train your dog not to bark. It is vital to remember to stay calm when training and never get angry or shout at your four-legged friend to be quiet. You should also remain consistent with training so as not to confuse your dog, ensure everyone in the household is on the same page and following the same rules. There are few different techniques for how to train your dog not to bark:
Ignore: Completely ignore your dog whilst they bark, give them no attention until they have stopped. Any kind of attention you give will be seen as a reward and only further the issue. Be patient and calm and wait until they are quiet, as soon as they do stop, reward them with a treat. This method can be frustrating and time-consuming as it is essential to wait as long as it takes for your pup to stop barking. If you can’t hold out for very long without getting angry and giving in or shouting at them to stop, the chances are next time they will bark for longer. If you aren’t persistent, your dog will learn that if they bark for long enough they will eventually get attention from you.
Teach quiet: Before you can teach your dog the command of being quiet, you must first teach them to bark on demand. This is a simple trick that is taught by telling them to ‘speak’, waiting until they start to bark, letting them bark a couple of times and giving a treat. Continue this until your canine pal starts to bark on the ‘speak’ command. Once your dog has nailed this training, it is time to teach the ‘quiet’ command. Start by getting them to bark, and then whilst they are barking say ‘quiet’ and hold a treat out so they are quiet, as soon as the barking stops praise and give the treat. Start this type of training in a calm and quiet environment, and then the more they learn the more distractions you can introduce.
Adjust your dog to the trigger: If you have figured the cause for your pups barking you can train them to be accustomed to it. Once you know what their trigger is and what is causing the barking, start by keeping it a fair distance away from your dog, far enough so they don’t bark. Reward them for not barking and then slowly start to move the trigger closer, if they continue to stay quiet, reward with more treats. Occasionally move the trigger completely out of sight and give no treats, that way your fur baby will learn that seeing the trigger leads to a positive reaction and treats.
Keep them stimulated: Some dogs will bark out of boredom and over-energy. If you think this might be the cause of your dogs barking, take them on longer and more regular walks and outings to tire them out. Every dog needs at least two 20 minute walks a day, and a really good way of getting them to use more energy is to let them sniff and embrace their sights and smells. Larger and younger dogs will need much more exercise than this to tire them out. To keep your dog entertained and busy whilst at home get them some interactive puzzle toys which will provide mental stimulation. Interactive toys that reward treats are normal for dogs as they are designed to hunt for their food.
How to train your dog to roll over?
One of the great tricks to teach your dog is how to roll over on command, although it can be more challenging than some basic dog training. Your pup will need to have mastered the down position on command before you can train your dog to roll over. Follow this step by step process to train your dog to roll over:
- Ask your dog to lie down using the down command, and make sure their chin and tummy are touching the floor.
- Kneel down in front of your pooch and place a treat between your fingers close to their nose and with your palm facing up.
- Use the treat and your hand to guide their nose towards their shoulder, as they follow the treat it should guide them to lay on their side. Once they are on their side give them praise and the treat for getting to this stage.
- Keep repeating this process and practising getting your dog to lie on their side.
- Once they have learnt this step, continue to move your hand around their head to the other side of your pup’s nose. As they follow the treat they should roll over to their opposite side, as soon as they flip give them praise and the treat,
- Continue to practice and once your dog starts to pick it up, add in the ‘rollover’ command word.
Teaching your dog new tricks is a great way to keep them mentally stimulated and form a loving bond between you and your four-legged friend. Dogs are so clever and there is so much that they can learn, just start simple with the basics and over time introduce them to more training activities and find more tricks to teach your dog. Remember to always praise and show affection to your pup, especially when they get something right, dogs respond much better to positive attention during training than negative attitudes and getting told off.
Whether it is how to train your dog to sit, how to potty train your dog, how to train your dog not to bark or how to train your dog to roll over, there are a couple of things you should always bear in mind; be consistent and have realistic expectations. When basic dog training and teaching dog obedience, it is vital to get as many members of your household involved so that your hound has consistent rules and training no matter who is at home. Always have realistic expectations for your dog’s training, you are aiming to change their behaviour, this takes time, so don’t expect them to pick it up straight away.