Training your dog in basic obedience is an important part of their overall health and happiness. Teaching them the basics gives them the freedom to run off lead, meet new people etc. because they will be safe and under control. Dogs are inherently intelligent animals and most love to learn.
Here are some tips on how to train your dog in basic obedience:
House training: If you get a puppy that is not yet house trained this will be the first opportunity for you to start obedience training and begin a lifelong bond. Patience and repetition are vitally important. Take them outside on a lead regularly during the day. The lead is so they don’t get distracted and wander off. Use the same word like “toilet” just before they urinate so that word becomes recognisable to them and once they have relieved themselves give them praise and maybe a treat as a reward. If you are able to be at home with them you will recognise when they are looking for a place to urinate and you can quickly take them out. Never punish them – accidents happen and remember they have very small bladders and will need to urinate often.
Start basic obedience training when they are puppies: Ideally obedience training should start when they are puppies, anywhere between 12 to 16 weeks according to experts, but there is no reason that an older dog cannot be trained – dogs can be trained at any age. Remember puppies start learning from the moment they are born by observing their mothers and siblings so obedience training is merely a progression from these basic life skills.
Train in a distraction-free environment: Start training in a quiet, distraction-free environment like your home or backyard so they can focus on you and not their surroundings. Once your dog has mastered the basics, gradually introduce distractions like other dogs or people.
Keep training sessions short and regular: Dogs have short attention spans, so keep training sessions from 10-15 minutes each. Practice daily, but don't overwhelm your dog with too much training at once. Work at their pace as all dogs are different. You will see when they are losing concentration and finish with something they have mastered so you end on a positive note. Make the sessions fun for them and you - it is a great bonding experience.
Start with simple commands: Begin with basic commands like "sit," "stay," "come," and "heel." Teach one command at a time gradually adding new ones.
Be consistent: Use the same command words and hand signals every time you train your dog. Consistency is key in training your dog in basic obedience.
Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats, praise, and affection when they obey a command. Positive reinforcement is more effective than punishment and it will help your dog learn faster.
Practice every day: Consistency, once again, is key in training your dog. Practice every day to reinforce the commands and keeps your dog's obedience skills sharp.
Remember to be patient and give your dog time to learn. Training in basic obedience is a lifelong process and it requires ongoing effort and practice. Consider enrolling in a basic obedience training class to get professional guidance and support.