With the right training, dogs can do amazing things. So amazing, in fact, that some have even melted Simon Cowell’s notoriously icy heart on America’s Got Talent.
When you look at how well these dogs listen to their owners, it’s easy to forget that they were once rowdy, untrained puppies like the one you may have at home.
How did they get to where they are now? By starting with the basics.
If you aren’t even sure how to teach a dog to sit, you’re in the right place. Read on for a simple beginner’s guide to dog training.
How to Train Your Dog to Listen to You
Before you can start working on specific commands, it’s important to take your puppy through some general dog obedience training.
First and foremost, never try to scare your dog into listening. Puppies respond best to positive reinforcement and gentle discipline. Yelling or hitting them will only make them afraid of you and can cause aggressive behaviors to develop.
Instead, find a quiet, calm environment without distractions. Give your puppy a command like “listen” or “look at me” and reward them with praise and a toy or treat when they look right at you. It will take time, but your dog will start to associate that command with the action and will listen even without a treat.
How to Teach a Dog to Sit, Stay, and Lay Down
Once your dog listens to you consistently, it’s time to move on to more advanced commands.
Sit, stay, and lay down are the three most important commands for a dog to learn. Teach your dog what the words mean by asking them to listen, then gently moving them into position while saying the command and praising them. Be careful to never shove your dog into sitting or laying down as you could injure their legs.
Once they’ve practiced the position a few times, start repeating the command without touching them. Praise them as soon as they get it right, asking them to listen again whenever they get distracted. You’ll need to stay consistent if you want what they’ve learned to stick, so plan for about an hour of training time each day.
How to Train a Dog to Do Tricks
Dog tricks are fun to watch, but they can be useful, too. Many owners train their puppies to high-five before they start eating, ring a bell when they need to go out, or even fetch the newspaper from the driveway.
To train your dog to do fancy tricks like these, follow the same steps you used when teaching them to sit. Lead them through the action while giving the command, praise them when they do the trick on their own, and give them rewards for listening to you. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what dogs can do, but if you need some ideas for tricks, check out a reputable animal resource like Pet Educate.
Looking for More Dog Training Tips?
These dog training tips only scratch the surface of the ones people have had success with. No matter the method you choose, though, remember that patience is the most important part of how to teach a dog to sit (or do anything else). If you give it time and stay consistent, your rambunctious puppy could turn into an obedience star.
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