Five great obedience training exercises for puppies

Stuck at home with your pup? With COVID-19 shutting down businesses of all kinds, obedience school is out of the picture for owners of rambunctious puppies. Luckily, you can keep up their training from home with this helpful dog training guide from Coupon Chief.

Obedience commands aren’t just cool tricks to teach your dog –– they can help keep your dog safe in dangerous situations, help you maintain control if your dog gets off its leash, and ultimately, strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Obedience command #1: Sit

“Sit” is the most basic obedience command –– all dogs should know it! It also happens to be one of the easiest commands to teach your dog and can be done in as little as a day, depending on you and your dog!

Here’s how to teach your dog to sit:

  1. Stand in front of your dog or puppy with a treat.
  2. Show them the treat by holding it in front of you or near their nose.
  3. Raise the treat up slightly while saying “sit” firmly.
  4. Place three fingers on your dog’s backside and as your dog follows the treat with their eyes, lightly guide them down into a sitting position.
  5. Once your dog is sitting, reward them with the treat and lots of verbal praise.
  6. Repeat these steps until your dog sits on command without guidance.

Check out the animation below for a visual how-to:

To reinforce your dog’s retention of the “sit” command, practice it before meal times, on walks, and every time the doorbell rings. This will keep your dog calm in exciting situations and help you manage their behavior.

Obedience command #2: Leave it

The “leave it” command requires more patience to teach, but it’s well worth it.

  1. Hold a treat in one hand, fist closed.
  2. Show your dog your closed fist and allow them to smell the treat.
  3. Your dog may get excited and try to get the treat out of your hand.
  4. Say “leave it” firmly.
  5. Once your dog is calm, give them the treat.
  6. Repeat steps 1–4, but wait for your dog to move away from the treat.
  7. Give your dog the treat only when they’ve moved away from your fist.

See the visual:

Obedience command #3: Stay

Another must-know command, “stay” is more challenging for a dog to learn because of their natural instinct to be close to their owner. However, “stay” can help keep your dog safe in dangerous situations. Dogs should know “sit” before learning the “stay” command.

Use the steps below to teach your dog the “stay” command:

  1. Have your dog sit using the “sit” command.
  2. Hold a hand up in front of you, palm facing your dog.
  3. Say “stay” firmly, keeping your hand up.
  4. Take a step backward, keeping your hand up and repeating “stay.”
  5. If your dog moves, return them to a “sit.”
  6. If your dog holds still, reward them with a treat and praise.
  7. Begin to increase the distance you put between you and your dog.
  8. Continue to reward a good “stay,” even if it’s for a short period of time.

Here is a visual how-to for the “stay” command:

For more advice on teaching the “stay” command, check out AKC’s helpful article here.

Obedience command #5: Lie down

The “lie down” command is incredibly versatile — you can use it to make your dog stay put or to tell him to relax when anxious or too excited.

  1. Hold a treat in one hand, fist closed.
  2. Tell your dog to sit.
  3. Show your dog your closed fist and allow them to smell the treat.
  4. As they smell the treat, move your closed fist to the floor.
  5. Say “lie down” or “down.”
  6. Your dog should follow your hand until they are laying down.
  7. Once they are laying down, give them the treat and praise them.
  8. Repeat until your dog can perform the command without a treat.

See the visual:

Obedience command #5: Come

If your dog gets off their leash or escapes the backyard, “come” is a crucial command to keep them safe. Dogs should know the “sit” and “stay” commands before learning “come.”

Teach your dog the “come” command using the steps below:

  1. Have your dog “sit” and then “stay.”
  2. Walk a short distance from your dog.
  3. Say “come” firmly and clap or hold out a treat.
  4. Reward your dog when they’ve come to you.
  5. Increase the distance between you and your dog.
  6. Repeat the command until your dog comes to you without needing a treat.

Check out the animation below for a visual:

Ideally, with complete mastery, your dog will come to you when called every time, regardless of other distractions.

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