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Basic Commands for Dogs

One of the most important aspects of training a dog or puppy is to get them to understand basic commands such as sit, stay, down and heel. This works to encourage obedience, good behaviour and gets them to respond clearly to their given name at all times.

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Some dogs will pick these commands up easily, whereas some will find it much more difficult, depending on their age, breed and temperament. But even if it is a challenge, having an obedient pooch by using basic commands will keep them mentally stimulated, keep them happy, and will make your life as an owner much easier.

Before you start training though, make sure you have some good quality treats to keep your dog engaged and provide an incentive. Here at Simpsons Premium we have a wide range of healthy, high protein dog treats perfect for training.

Sit

What it’s for:      This command is normally the first one that any dog is likely to learn. It can come in handy if you want your dog to stay still, or to stop bad behaviour such as begging for food or play-biting.

Skill level:            Easy

Technique:          Hold a treat up to your dog’s nose and then raise it above their head. This will force your dog to look up, which usually makes their bum drop to the floor. Practice this a few times and change treats to something more tempting if they start to lose interest.

Stay

What it’s for:      Building on the sit command, stay will ensure that your dog remains still even if you walk away from them. It is often handy for when you start to walk your dog off the lead, and will encourage obedience.

Skill level:            Medium

Technique:          Start off with the sit command. Once they have mastered this, say ‘stay’ and back slowly away from them with your palm facing them to reinforce the new command. Have them concentrate on the treat at all times, and keep repeating ‘stay’. Finish off by returning to them to give them the treat, or get them to come to you by shouting ‘come’ and getting them to sit again before giving the treat.

Down

What it’s for:      Down is a useful command that will encourage obedience, but can also be used to stop a dog in its tracks if facing a hazardous situation out on a walk (such as a road). It can also lead to more advanced tricks in the future.

Skill level:            Medium

Technique:          Rather than hold a treat above your dog’s head like the sit command, hold the treat towards the floor so they are forced to duck down to retrieve it, all the while repeating the command ‘down’. If they struggle with this, get your dog to sit first, then go down straight after, following the treat closely with their nose. With a lot of repetition in different scenarios, you should be able to get your dog to go straight down and stay there until you reach them.

Heel

What it’s for:      Especially useful for when you’re out on a walk and you want your dog to stick close, heel will get them to walk by your side. This is a great command to encourage your dog to listen to you and avoid distractions such as other dogs and people

Skill level:            Medium

Technique:          If you have your dog on a lead, hold it in the opposite hand to where your dog is walking and have the lead crossing your body. In the hand closest to your dog, hold a treat in an open fist so they can lick it, but do not give it to them just yet. Walk along repeating the command ‘heel’, keeping their attention as much as you can. End the command by giving them the treat or finishing off with a ‘sit’. Try and practice this technique in front of other dogs and distractions to encourage obedience at all times.

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