Animals should be as free as possible, they are individual spirits and every owner should respect that. Over imposing on them is a way of keeping them trapped and limiting their enjoyment of life. That being said, a few “manners” will serve both you and your dog well.
We believe there are three different tricks your dog needs to know for both of you to enjoy life and be safe while doing it.
First trick you need to teach them is SIT DOWN.
It’s a very simple trick to master and a very helpful one. When you are talking with someone or if you are at the market and you need to buy something, or in a new city trying to get your bearings, having an active dog moving back and forth is not going to help the situation. You need them to stay still for a couple of minutes so you can focus on the task at hand.
The most important part in teaching a dog any trick is to have a good amount of treats. They can be bought from the pet store or you can prepare some small sized meat pieces at home.
Armed with treats you need to get your dog in a place where only the two of you are present, no other distractions nearby.
Call their name and have them come to you with one treat in hand. It is very important that you get their attention, otherwise the dog will not learn the trick.
Now that their attention is on you and they are near, just wait until they get bored and naturally decide to sit. This will not take long.
After they sit down you say clearly “Sit” and you give them one treat.
Repeat this until the dog associates the command with the action and that’s it!
The second vital command your dog needs to learn is STAY.
There are a huge amount of scenarios when this will come in handy for you and keep your dog safe.
Teaching a dog to stay takes a little more time than teaching him how to sit, but it’s still an easy process. As it was the case with the first command, you will need a good amount of treats to get things started.
Before you begin, make a small plan of action that includes the following principles:
- Keep training sessions short, no more than 15 minutes a day
- Be consistent and train every day until he learns the trick
- Use a happy voice when you are giving him a command and a stern voice when you are correcting a mistake (always keep these tones of voice separate)
Now, get your dog to sit in a comfortable position. Once he does that extend your palm in front of their head and say clearly, in a positive voice, “stay”.
Wait a few seconds and then take 2-3 steps backwards. Naturally, in the beginning, your dog will follow you. Correct them using a stern voice and start over: first have them sit, extend your palm, say “stay” in a happy voice and then move 3 steps back.
Reward them when they get the hang of it, but ALWAYS go where they are siting to give them the treat, DO NOT call them to you. Remember, they need to learn to stay put.
It is very powerful to cheer them as well when they are doing a good job and when they receive the treat.
It will take some practice, but eventually the dog will learn to stay put. Since this is an important trick, make sure to practice it a lot and for longer periods of time before you do it outside your house, otherwise you risk confusing your dog and they might break the command.
When they can sit for 5 minutes without moving, it’s safe to practice the command outside as well.
The third most important command and probably the one that helps keep your dog safe the most is COME.
Use the same principles as before: get some treats, find a place with no distractions, be consistent and train daily for a few minutes until they master the command.
You start out with a leash. Have your dog sit and then tell them to stay. Start moving backwards with small steps and give the command clearly “come”. If the follow you, reward them when they reached you with a treat and praise. If they stay put, tug on the leash to encourage them to move.
Remember, ALWAYS give the command first in a clear, positive tone.
Repeat this until they are familiar with the three commands, individually: sit, stay and come.
After they master the “come” command in a simple environment, start adding distractions between you and your dog and tackle greater distances. Put food between the two of you, put his favorite toy etc. Do this things gradually, but do not skip them! The trick is to have your dog come to you NO MATTER WHAT.
If you get your dog to master these three simple tricks you can now enjoy taking them with you in a ton of place otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to accompany you, you’ll be able to give them the freedom of going for a walk with no leash and most importantly you’ll be sure of theyr safety in difficult situations!