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10 Essential Commands to Teach Your Dog

Approximately 60.2 million US households owned a dog at home, according to the latest statistics of 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. This accounted for 89.7 million dogs in the US that shared roughly $72.13 billion of Pet Industry Expenditures. Imagine how we loved our dogs that we are more than willing to spend money in grooming, regular vet check-up, prevention from dog ear infection or skin allergies, and proper food supplementation. However, aside from these must-haves, pet owners need to train their dogs and teach them the basic commands properly. Dog training creates mental stimulation and encourages discipline and obedience to make your Fido more active and well-behaved. Not to mention that it is also a fun and rewarding way to strengthen the human-pet relationship even more.

Though there are various dog obedience training facts you need to understand, here are some of the essential commands you can teach to your dogs.

● Purpose: To address your dog properly while teaching commands.

● Description: Before you train your dog any activities, teach your Fido to know his or her name. This should be the very first step to instill discipline. It is easier to teach your pup whatever command or any exercises if you address them appropriately. An obvious sign that your dog responds well when he or she stare or look at you upon calling his or her name. Do not forget to provide a reward or affection when he or she got it right.

Leave it or NO
● Purpose: To tell your Fido not to grab or pick up something he or she is approaching or about to ingest.

● Description: You may not want to see your dog eating whatever is unnecessary to digest. The reason why a “No” or “leave it’ command is helpful. Begin by holding treats on both hands. Gradually move the first hand or treat to your Fido’s face to trigger him to lick or sniff at the treat, then say the “leave it” or “no” command. Whenever your dog is trying to grab the first treat from your hand, just ignore the behavior. Give the second treat from the other hand when your dog finds no interest in the first treat anymore. This action signals that he or she follows the appropriate behavior. Make sure to practice the exercise until your dog masters it.

● Purpose: To signal your dog to come back and protect your Fido out of trouble.

● Description: This command should start by putting a collar and leash to your dog. With a certain distance away from your Fido, gently pull the dog’s leash towards you then say “come.” As your dog manages to move towards you, make sure to give him or her a treat, praise or affection. Repeat this activity until your dog learns it properly.

Watch me or Look
● Purpose: To guarantee that your dog’s attention stays or focuses on you.

● Description: This command is executed by offering your dog a treat in your closed hand. Carefully move your hand closer to the dog’s nose then towards the face. Once you get your Fido’s full attention while establishing eye contact, say the “watch me” or “look” command. As a reward, give your dog a treat or praise.

Down or Lie Down
● Purpose: To calm down an excited or hyperenergetic dog and address some dog’s behavioral problems.

● Description: This dog activity is a little bit challenging as it requires your dog to be in a submissive or passive position. Execute this command by offering a good smelling treat for your dog. Hold the treat with your closed fist then gently move it closer towards your Fido’s nose and face. Let your dog sniff at the object then allow him or her to follow by gradually moving your hand to the floor. Continue to slide your hand along the floor until your dog is down or assumes a lying position. Once he or she was down, that is the perfect time to give the “down” command. Offer your dog a treat or praise him for his behavior. Repeat this exercise until he masters it.

Take it and Drop it
● Purpose: To train your dogs to take away the object they grab easily.

● Description: To execute this command, start by giving the “take it” command when your dog opens his or her mouth and is willing to grab or catch the object. Give him or her time to play with the object then gradually introduce another object which is completely the same as the first one. Creating an impression that it provides the same value to your dog, it will trigger your dog to move towards the second object and grab it. Once your Fido dropped the first one, give the “drop it” command. Say the “take it” command when your dog catches or grabs the second object. Reward your dog and practice this activity until he or she learns it properly.

● Purpose: To calm your dogs down and keep them self-controlled.

● Description: This activity is a combination of two commands: sit and stay. Train your dog with “sit” command first. To execute this exercise, begin by offering your dog a treat. Hold the treat and position it closer to your Fido’s nose then gradually move your hand up, so your dog will also move his or head and follow the direction of your hand. When the dog assumes the natural sitting position, give the “sit” command. Give your dog a treat or praise and repeat this activity until he or she masters it.

By the time your dog has perfected the “sit” command, teach him or her the “stay” command. When your Fido is in a natural sitting position, open the palm of your hand facing your dog then give the “stay” command. Continue the exercise by gradually moving steps or a little distance away from your dog, then say the “stay” command. Give your dog a treat or praise by doing a great job. Repeat until he or she has perfected the exercise.

● Purpose: To easily position the dog in cases where standing is required such as brushing the dog or being examined by the veterinarian.

● Description: Start by giving the “sit” command. With a treat in your hand, move it towards your dog’s nose forward then down. Following the direction of your hand holding the treat, move your hand forward until your dog assumes a standing position. Say the “stand” command and reward your dog with praise or a treat.

● Purpose: To train your dog not to move or wander.

● Description: Execute this task by giving the command “sit” when your Fido is outside your car or just in front of a closed door. Open the palm of your hand then say the “wait” command. Repeat this activity until your dog learns it properly.

● Purpose: To teach the dog in becoming well-behaved when you are beside him or her.

● Description: Start this command by holding the dog’s leash with your right hand. Let your dog stay on your left side. Using your left hand, hold the treat and guide your Fido while walking or instructing him or her to sit. Give the “heel” command. Make a few steps or movements while guiding your dog at your side. Praise your dog or give him or her a treat.

Final Thoughts
We always want to have a pleasant company wherever we go, and our dogs can become one. Teach your Fido these basic commands to address any behavioral problems and ensure a healthy and physically-active canine companion every time.

Maria Harutyunian is the PR team lead at Vet Organics. She writes about dogs and pets, in general, to help pet owners like her take better care of their furry family members.