Dog Training

dog training

Train Your Dog

A dog’s never too old to learn new tricks!

Why it's important to train your dog

Every dog parent is responsible for making sure their dog is properly trained, by using commands that bring out the best in their dog.

With Dog training you are teaching your dog to listen to you and thereby establishing yourself as pack leader. A dog that is happy and under control will eagerly respond to commands like sit, stay or come, which can be potentially lifesaving for your dog.

An obedient dog will respond even when there are real life distractions around, like other dogs barking or when they are on busy streets.

Dog training gives you a great chance to have some real one on one time to interact with eachother. It will help you to better understand your dog’s needs and teach you to communicate effectively with him. By doing this, you will also build a relationship of trust and respect, and ultimately a stronger bond between you.

A dog that knows its boundaries and behaves well will be more comfortable and relaxed in social situations. With both other dogs and people, whereas an un trained and unsocialized dog might react aggressively when meeting unfamiliar dogs or people.

Your dog needs stimulation to keep him healthy and alert.  Dog training will keep your dog active, both physically and mentally, and also help to avoid any temperament or behavioural issues in the future.

Though training should ideally start when your dog is a pup, it’s never too late to start, improve or rectify dog training problems.

Training takes time and patience, and is an ongoing process. It’s not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, and can be downright frustrating at times, but keep at it. You Can Do It!

Below are some helpful training videos and steps to train your dog yourself. If you don’t have the time or you are struggling with training, we have an ever growing list in our directory of professional trainers and dog schools to help you out when the training gets too tough to handle.

Need Help Training Your Dog?

Tips to train your dog yourself

Training Your Dog to Sit

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Sit

To encourage your dog to sit, you will lure your dog into position with a treat

 

  • With your dog in a standing position, Hold a treat your dog enjoys close to their nose
  • Move your hand slowly from the nose to towards your dog’s forehead and in an arc over his head.
  • As your dog raises his head to follow the treat, his bottom will naturally go down on the floor.
  • The moment he sits, praise him and give him the treat.
  • Repeat this a few times until he gets the hang of it.
  • Introduce the cue word, sit as soon as he sits.
  • Practice this a number of times in short but regular sessions.
  • Give an ‘okay’ cue at the end of your training

Training Your Dog To Stay

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Stay

With your dog in either a sit position or lying down

 

  • Raise the palm of your hand to face your dog, like a “stop” sign.
  • Say the cue word, “Stay”
  • Wait a second or two before giving your dog the treat.
  • Only reward your dog if he stays in position.
  • If your dog looks like he’s about to break the stay ( move out of position) then reward him before he does.
  • Repeat this and gradually increase the stay time.
  • As your dog gets the hang of it, try to move a step back while your dog remains in position.
  • Repeat by stepping back a little more and making your dog wait longer
  • Practice this regularly and gradually increase the stay time and the distance between you and your dog.

Train your dog to Lie Down

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Down

Start with your dog in a “Sit” position, as your dog is already half-way there and likely to succeed this way.  Lure your dog with a yummy treat.

  • Hold a treat between your fingers just in front of your dog’s nose so he can smell what delights you have for him
  • Say the cue word “down” and slowly bring your hand downwards in between your dog’s front paws.
  • Your dog should naturally go into a laying position
  • Reward and praise your dog for doing this.
  • Repeat this about ten times.
  • Once you’re confident your dog understands the “down” command repeat the process with your dog in a standing position.

If you have trouble with this method, don’t worry. Watch the video above for other methods to teach your dog the “Down”.

Training your dog to Stand

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Stand

Have fabulous treats to hand and begin with your dog in a lying down position.

  • You will then lure your dog and shape your dog into position, so he knows what to do.
  • While holding the treat near your dog’s nose, but slightly away so your dog moves a little forward towards the treat.
  • Ask your dog to “Stand,” and gently position your free hand under your dog’s stomach near his hind legs to hold him up
  • While in this position, say the cue word, “Stand”
  • Reward and praise your dog

Then tell your dog to “Sit” and if your dog doesn’t naturally do this, then

  • gently push down on his behind to encourage the “Sit”
  • Reward and praise your dog
  • Follow this with the “Stand” cue once more and again hold your hand under your dog’s belly and bring the treat forward ( slightly away from dog’s nose) to bring him into the “stand” position.
  • Repeat and practice this several times
  • Move slightly away from your dog and see if your dog stands on your cue.
  • If you are unsuccessful, you can put your dog on a loose leash and try again, standing a little bit away from your dog so he has room to stand.
  • If his hind legs don’t go up, you can very gently place your foot where you previously placed your hand to gently bring your dog’s backend up. DO NOT KICK THE DOG, you are only very gently guiding him to raise up.
  • Reward and praise your dog
  • Tell your dog to “ Sit “
  • Reward and praise your dog
  • Repeat this several times
  • Ask your dog to “ Stand” without your help, ask your dog to sit and repeat this rewarding and praising as you go.

Training your dog "Recall"

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Come

To train a dog perfect recall so your dog doesn’t get distracted and always comes back to you, one method is to play chase with your dog, where you are the object of prey.

Begin in an enclosed / safe park by using a long line / lead to prevent the dog getting distracted, (and to pick up if necessary) and his favourite toy.

  • Leash your dog and hold the leash about a foot away from your dog. Tell your dog, “come” or “here” while holding his toy in front of you
  • Your dog should move forward and wait for the toy – praise him with, “ yes” or “good” and then while holding the toy let your dog play a little as reward.
  • Repeat this a few times
  • This will work if your dog understands basic commands
  • If not or as the next step, teach your dog to come to you, by letting go of the leash and running a little way away with the toy, calling out “come” a few times as you move around. Your dog should happily chase you.
  • Once he’s caught up with you, praise him and release the toy to him.
  • Move backwards away from him and call him to “Come” or say “Here” until he reaches you. Soon as he does praise him and start to play a game of tug with him.
  • Though he has the toy, he should come because he knows when he does, he gets to play with you.
  • Continue doing this by moving backwards away from your dog and calling him over, with either “come” or “here.”
  • Praise him and play
  • Practice this over and over with lots of sessions.

Training your dog to wait

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Wait

Try this easy exercise at feeding time to prevent your dog from lunging in to eat and to learn to wait. This can then be used in all kinds of situations where you need your dog to wait such as the front door.

  • Ask your dog to sit
  • Hold your dog’s bowl and tell your dog to “Wait”
  • After a couple of seconds, give your dog a little bit of food and praise him.
  • Repeat this a few times to give your dog the idea
  • Place the dog bowl down on the floor and tell your dog to “Wait”
  • After a few seconds give your dog the release cue, “ok” and let your dog feed.
  • Repeat this exercise each meal time until your confident your dog understands.

Practice a similar exercise outside with your dog on leash

  • By your side standing stationary, tell your dog to “Wait” Praise and reward with treat.
  • Move in front of your dog and tell him to “Wait.” Praise and reward with treat
  • Keep practicing this command in different situations such as at a crossing or the road side.

Train your dog to Take and Leave It

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Leave It

Take it – teaches dogs to take things gently from your hands

 

Leave it – Can be life saving. If you drop a food dangerous to your dog or medication on the floor of your home, you need to be able to stop your dog from touching it before it potentially harms them. Out in the park this command can be useful to stop them picking up discarded foods, chasing after squirrels or even other dogs.

 

Take it –

  • At your dog’s meal time hand feed your dog a tiny bit of his food. If you use kibble, use one nugget at a time, saying the cue word, “Take it” every time before you feed it to your dog.
  • Lower the food so it’s directly in front of his mouth, or just below – to prevent any snapping from reaching upwards.
  • The idea is that your dog gently takes it from your hand. If he doesn’t, pull back your hand with the food, say “No” and try again.
  • Praise your dog every time he takes the food gently,

 

Leave it –

  • Hold a yummy treat in the palm of your hand, in front of your dog.
  • Say the cue word, “ Leave it”
  • Your dog will go for the treat. Say “ No” and close your hand.
  • Hold another treat in the palm of your hand, tell your dog to “Leave it” if he leaves it for a couple of seconds, then tell him to “Take it” and praise him for a job well done.
  • If he goes for the treat without waiting, close your hand and say, “No”
  • Repeat this over and over, extending the length of time your dog leaves it by a few more seconds each time. Go up to ten seconds if you can
  • As you progress, you can practive “Take it” and “Leave it” with your dog’s favourite toys.
  • You can advance more in later sessions by dropping a treat / kibble on the floor. One, then two and more.
  • Reward your dog with food from your hand.
  • Practice in different areas of your home
  • Practice outside in the garden or your walk. Reward and praise your dog each time it successfully leaves something you have instructed him not to touch.

Training your dog to drop it

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Drop It

Drop it teaches dogs to release things that are in their mouth. This could be a toy they already have or more importantly it could be something they have picked up that is harmful to them and you need them to let go of it immediately.

It’s advisable to teach your dog the “Take It” command before moving on to “Drop It”

You will need your dog’s favourite tug toy and great treats.

  • Start with your dog in the sit position
  • Show your dog the toy and tell him to “Take it”
  • Allow him to take it and play tug with him for a little bit
  • Tell your dog to “Drop it” and encourage him to do this with a lure. Hold a tasty treat near his nose.
  • Keep a tight grip on the toy. Don’t move or wiggle it.
  • When he releases the toy to you, praise him and reward him with the treat, while holding the toy behind your back.
  • Your dog will now be standing. Continue to repeat the exercise until he understands that he needs to “drop it “on command. You should say the command only once, and then wait for your dog to respond.

Training your dog to heel

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Heel

The best place to train your dog to heel is where he feels happy and relaxed without distractions.

Start your training in the home.

  • Begin by picking up your dog’s lead and calling your dog to you
  • If your dog doesn’t listen to you in the house – its not going to listen to you outside
  • If the dog becomes over excited, put the lead down
  • Your dog needs to remain in a calm state to progress to the next stage
  • If your dog starts to bite the lead, say “no” take the lead off, and start again
  • Once you are able to calmly put the lead on your dog you can continue with Stop, Start, change direction in your home.
  • You are trying to encourage your dog to stay by your side
  • Walk around your home with your dog by your side on a loose short lead, moving forward and turning, using the cue word “heel”
  • You can use a treat to lure your dog into the correct position.
  • You can practice this even in a small space
  • Praise your dog and reward with a treat as he gets it right
  • Every time your dog pulls forward, change direction

Once your dog has the idea, you can move to your garden to practice. If you don’t have a garden, use a quiet area in

  • the park where there are no distractions.

 

 

  • When you’re happy your dog has a good grip on what they are meant to do you can move outside.
  • Put your dog’s lead on and open the front door. If your dog tries to take over and pull you outside the front door, bring him back in and close the door.
  • Repeat this until your dog allows you to go through the door and follows you
  • As you go on your walk ( preferably somewhere quiet without too many distractions) keep practicing. If your dog pulls, change the direction you are walking in. Walk a little way, then turn around and continue on your way. Each time your dog pulls, repeat this process.
  • Practice on quiet residential streets
  • As you progress you can move onto places where there are more distractions – If this is too much for your dog go back to a place that your dog was more comfortable to practice. As he becomes more confident, try busier areas with more distractions.

Training your dog to "stop jumping up"

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Off leash

For your dog to politely greet you, a guest or someone on your walk, he should be able to “ sit stay “on all fours, either in the “sit” or “ down” whichever they prefer, while you or someone else pets him.

  • Begin by making sure your dog has used up lots of energy by playing a game of fetch with you or give him a good walk in the park.
  • Using your dog’s favourite treats, get down on the floor with your dog and give your dog the cue to “sit”
  • Praise your dog, give him the treat, and pet your dog. Continue doing this for a few moments. You want your dog to get used to be touched.

  • If your dog lifts any of his paws, move the treat away. Reward only if he keeps all four paws on the ground.
  • Progress by standing up and waiting for your dog to come over to you and “sit” Praise and pet your dog and reward with a treat.
  • Repeat this a few times without giving a treat. Give a treat at the end for doing a good job.
  • Practice this with your dog for a few minutes when you come home from work until he gets it.
  • Try getting a friend to pop by or practice your greeting at the park. If your dog jumps, lure them back into a “sit,” praise and treat while your friend or the person your dog is greeting in the park pets your dog.
  • Repeat this often until your dog stops jumping up excitedly to greet.

Train your dog to stop barking & lunging

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Barking & Lunging

Train Your Dog To Speak & Be Quiet

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Speak – Quiet

Have a reward ready that your dog absolutely loves like some fresh cooked chicken for example.

• Start off by giving your dog a little bit of the treat, so he knows what goodies you have.
• Hold your hand near your dog with the treat in your palm, but don’t let him have it until he barks
• You might be waiting a while – but be patient.
• Your dog may try various things to please you to get the treat. Ignore everything until he barks.
• When your dog eventually barks, or makes even a little sound in that direction, reward with your treat and praise
• Repeat this until he does a proper bark, then introduce the word “speak” just before or after he barks.

• Tell him to speak, reward and praise. Repeat this until your confident he’s got it.

• Now hold out a treat. You are aiming for your dog to be quiet and not bark. If he barks for the treat, don’t give it to him until he’s quiet. If continues to bark, say, No and move the treat further away from your dog.

• The moment your dog is quiet, introduce the word quiet, and reward your dog.
• Practice speak and quiet one after the other, until your dog gets the hang of it.