Yes, we believe you can train yours!
By Catalina Barrios
After having my son, having a dog has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences in my life. There has always been a dog in my family. There’s nothing like running around my family’s farm followed by up to four dogs at any given time. “Coqui”, our dog back home before I came to Canada, was the first one to greet me as soon as I got off the school bus.
One of the things my sisters and I enjoyed the most was teaching our dogs tricks. It really is never too late to teach your dog tricks. Dogs have a wonderful capacity to learn commands. You don’t need to spends lots of money in dog training classes since we are about to help you learn how to teach your dog 5 of the most common tricks or commands.
Remember: “Practice makes perfect!”
This is one of the most common commands to teach. Dogs who know how to sit are less likely to be jumping on you or anyone else. This is very important should you want to bring your dog into shops or cafes where they are allowed. First hold a treat close to your dog’s nose. Then move your hand up, which will make him follow the treat and will cause his bottom to lower. Once he is in a sitting position tell him “sit” and give him a treat. Do this several times and praise him when he does a good job.
Before teaching your dog how to stay still, it is important that she knows the “sit” command and that she obediently sits when you ask her to. First ask your dog to “sit”. Then say “stay” while opening the palm of your hand in front of you. After, take a few steps back. If she stays, reward her with a treat and affection. As she learns,increase the number of steps before giving her a treat and make sure to always reward your dog. Do not give up, it will take some time for your dog to learn.
This command will help your dog stay out of trouble. My dog is the happiest one in the world when I tell him to come. He knows that when I tell him “come” or in Spanish “ven” it’s because I always have something good for him. Start by putting a leash and collar on your dog, then get down to their level and say “come” while slowly pulling on the leash. When they get to you, reward them with a treat and affection. Once they know how to “come” with a leash, remove it and practice this command in a safe and closed area so they can’t run away. It is important to reward your dog for every command you teach them as they need constant motivation.
When your dog learns the “wait” command, he knows he can’t move until you tell him to. This is a great trick for your dog to knows especially when you need him to stay inside the car or crate. When your dog is ready to get out of the car or his crate, start by telling him “wait” and then opening the door a little. If the tries to get out close the door quickly. Then give him the command again and open the door more. Once he understands “wait” tell him “go ahead” so he knows it is ok to move forward.
5. Let go.
Dogs enjoy exploring as they learn what is good and bad for them. This is a great command to teach your dog as it will prevent her from eating something or ruining something you like, like your favorite pair of shoes. The “let go” command will also allow you and your dog to safely play games like tug-of-war (my dog’s favorite) and fetch. First start by offering your dog one of her favorite toys and then say “take it”. Hold a treat up to her nose while the toy is in her mouth. Then give her a treat as soon as she releases the toy and say “drop it” or “let go”. It is important to say this command while holding a treat up to her nose. After a couple of times, try holding the treat farther away. Gradually increase the distance if as she responds to the verbal cue. Then try saying the command without the treat and praise her for a job well done.
* Be patient
* After saying a command say your dog’s name so they don’t get confused.
* Training sessions should be brief. Remember that a dog’s attention span is short.
* Train your dog between 3 to 5 times a day with each session no longer than 15 minutes.
* Practice and praise will take you a long way. Your dog will always respond to praise
* Make it fun. Use anything fun to draw your dog’s attention like, food, toys or even dancing.
* Work hard. Training should be fun, challenging, and rewarding for both you and your dog. The energy you put into your dog’s training will also affect him.
Maybe soon your dog can learn cool tricks like this! Good luck and let us know which tricks/commands are your dog’s favorite!