The Ultimate Guide to Dog Obedience

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“My most satisfying aspect of animal training is a very simple moment. After a show when I leave the stage door … sometimes I hear someone say the following and it makes it all worthwhile. ‘How did they make that dog do that?’ I smile because I am the only ‘they’ and I do it with love.”

Renowned animal behaviorist William Berloni reportedly stated this in reference to his successful transformation of an abused dog from a local pound into Sandy, the dog featured in a recent rendition of the hit musical Annie.

While it’s highly unlikely you aspire to convert your canine into a Broadway star, the importance of obedience training – and theme of love – are still applicable.

Proper obedience training represents a critical component to nurturing a healthy human-animal relationship and creating a socially-compatible pet. With adequate training, your dog can truly be your best friend, and the feelings of love and respect can be mutual.

Here’s our guide to achieving a level of dog obedience that produces a well-behaved dog and, equally important, a healthy and happy human-animal bond.

The Importance of Training Your Dog to be Obedient

The product of pack-living ancestors, most dogs need instruction and direction. Obedience-trained dogs tend to have easier lives than their untrained peers, as they learn to better cope with their surroundings and often receive more privileges as a result of their good behavior.

Ideally, you start them while they’re young, developing a foundation of obedience in your puppy and cultivating these skill sets throughout your dog’s life. But even most adult dogs respond positively to obedience training, mastering most basic commands.

The basic elements of obedience training – “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel” – help produce a good canine citizen. By keeping training positive and fun, with a rewards-based approach, both you and your dog can enjoy the process and the end result.

Obedience Training Philosophies

At its core, think of obedience training as a canine’s version of an education in good manners. When you have guests enter your household, you want every family member to exude proper manners and behavior, including your dog.

While some dog owners opt to take obedience training into their own hands, there are alternative options available for those owners who lack extensive experience with this endeavor. Provided your budget allows, consider enrolling your dog in a formal class, whereby he’ll receive training to develop the foundation of lifelong behavioral skills.

In addition to teaching compliance with basic commands (“sit,” “come,” “down,” and “stay”), an obedience class instructor can help guide you through issues, such as the timing of food rewards when your dog listens and the best way to respond when he doesn’t adhere to your requests. You’ll learn training techniques you can reinforce when you’re with your dog at home.

General Rules for Training Dogs

Regardless of whether you implement formal obedience classes or opt for an independent training effort, there are a number of general rules to keep in mind. These include:

  • Training should be an enjoyable experience for you and your dog.
  • Every dog should be familiar with basic obedience commands.
  • Training should not involve any negative or punishment-based components.
  • Ensure that your dog’s motivation for reward is highest during a training session.
  • Make sure the reward you offer in training is the most powerful one for your dog.
  • Once training has been accomplished in a quiet area, you can gradually begin to practice in environments with more distractions.

Teach Your Dog Basic Commands

With a commitment to consistent practice and repetition, you can succeed with instilling basic commands within your canine companion – and do so quicker than you ever thought possible. The commands instructing your dog to “come,” “heel,” “sit,” “stay,” and “stay down” are essential for ensuring your canine remains safe and well-behaved.

Here are “how to” guides for teaching your dog to master the obedience skills associated with these five basic commands:

Guide to Training Your Dog

Ultimately, you can convert a disobedient dog into a well-mannered member of your family by utilizing effective training strategy, consistency, and persistence. Your dedication and discipline will rub off on your eager-to-please canine.


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