How do I train my new dog or puppy?

Training your dog basic commands is really important for their wellbeing as well as for your relationship with them. Dogs are intelligent creatures and can be easily trained with patience, repetition, positive feedback and some delicious treats. It’s also a great bonding time for you and your puppy or dog, and establishes you as the master in your dog’s mind. Dogs are pack animals and so it’s important for them to know who their leader is so that they can behave appropriately. Here are 3 basic commands every dog should be taught.

Teaching them to sit

Learning to sit is probably the best place to start with when training a dog. Training sessions should last for about 10–15 minutes and these should be done every day. Any longer than this and your dog will lose focus, become tired and lose attention.

Train your dog in a quiet place either inside your home or in the backyard where there aren’t any distractions. This is so you and your dog can focus entirely on the training.

  1. Be calm and wait for the dog to sit down on their own. They will do this eventually, as it is a natural position for them to take.
  2. When they are in the sitting position, say to them “sit” and reward them with positive feedback such as “good boy/girl”. At this point you can also reward them with a treat.
  3. Continue this each time they sit for you in this training session, and repeat training every day until they sit on command.

Commanding your dog to heel

Teaching your dog to heel is a good way for them to learn how to walk with you, without dragging you along behind them.

  1. Walk with them by your side, keeping a firm grip on the leash without holding it too tight. This way, if you want to pull on the leash they will be more likely to obey you.
  2. When you are walking them and they start to pull on the lead, pull them back gently to be by your side. When you do this, say “heel” so that they associate being pulled back with this word.
  3. Keep repeating every time you take them for a walk.

Making them stay

This command can be the hardest to train a dog to do as puppies in particular want to be with you and don’t tend to sit still for very long.

  1. Start by putting them in the ‘sit’ position and say to them “stay” with a hand held out, palm facing forwards. Wait a few seconds and then reward your dog for staying with a treat.
  2. Then ask them to sit again and say “stay” with your palm held outwards and take a step back. If your dog doesn’t move, wait a few seconds and then reward them for staying.
  3. Keep increasing the length of the stay and reward them each time. If your dog doesn’t get it straight away, don’t yell at them as this will only have negative results.

Training your dog is easy with some dedication, patience and a little love. If you are thinking about buying a pet for Christmas, remember that a pet is a lifetime commitment. It can be a big responsibility and also comes with some costs of keeping them healthy and looked after. One way to help with this is by taking out Real Pet Insurance, which can help cover eligible vet bills if your pet was to become sick or injured.

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