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How To Make Your Dog Obedient – A Complete Guideline

Do you know obedient dogs are happier and healthier than their disobedient counterparts? Obedience training is an important part of being a responsible pet parent. It helps to create a positive relationship between you and your pup, which leads to greater peace of mind regarding the safety of your family and friends. But how do you get started? How do you make your dog obedient?

A great way to start teaching your pup obedience is through positive reward training.  This involves rewarding your dog with treats for good behavior and ignoring bad behavior. Reinforce desired behaviors by offering verbal praise and physical affection when your pup does something right. It is important to be consistent and patient when training your pup. Make sure to set boundaries and stick to them.

This article will provide a complete guide on how to make your dog obedient. I’ll explore the various stages of obedience training, essential preparatory steps to take before beginning instruction, and important points to keep in mind throughout the process.

By the end of this guide,  you’ll know how to prepare for and structure obedience training sessions, teach your pup basic commands, and reinforce positive behaviors with rewards. Let’s jump in!

What Is Obedience Training?

Obedience training is a process designed to teach dogs proper behaviors, commands, and cues from their owners. Obedience training is important for any dog, regardless of age or breed; it will provide a lifelong foundation of learning and good behavior.

Not only does it develop the connection between you and your pup, but also teaches them how to act in different circumstances. Plus, when dogs understand that they can trust you for guidance and reassurance, it reduces their chances of having emotional problems such as anxiety, stress, or aggression.

A strong bond is essential for building mutual trust – something that will help both of you navigate life together more effectively.

Obedience training reward

Important Things To Do Before Starting Obedience Training

Before you get started on obedience training, there are a few essential things to consider when bringing home a pup.

Set Clear Household Guidelines That Everyone in the Home Should Follow

Before you welcome a pup into your home, create and agree upon some essential guidelines by which everyone in the household must abide. This will ensure that your pet receives unified instructions and doesn’t become confused by conflicting demands. Take for instance, if family members disagree on whether your pup is allowed to go up the sofa. This will bewilder the dog as they won’t know who they should listen to.

So to ensure your pup is obedient, gather the whole family and decide on specifics like:

  • Where the dog will sleep, eat, and go potty.
  • Establish standard rules for feeding table scraps and snacks.
  • If they are allowed into your bedroom or not.

By having these guidelines established from day one, everyone can work together for successful obedience training!

Obedience training Reward Puppy

Choose Your Pooch’s Name and Stick With It

Aside from house rules, It is also critical to settle on a name for your dog and stay consistent with it. Let’s say you choose “Charlie”– everyone in the family will need to call them this same way for maximum effect. This will help your pooch respond when they are given instructions, especially if you’re practicing recall–you want them to come back immediately when out on walks!

Whenever giving a command, utilize their name – it increases the chances of receiving obedience right away!

So to ensure your pup is obedient, gather the whole family and decide on specifics like:

  • Where the dog will sleep, eat, and go potty.
  • Establish standard rules for feeding table scraps and snacks.
  • If they are allowed into your bedroom or not.

By having these guidelines established from day one, everyone can work together for successful obedience training!

Obedience training reward hug

Teach Your Puppy the House Rules

As you now have the house rules in place, it’s time to start teaching them to your pup. All puppies will need proper housetraining – this is especially true if you bring an adult dog into the home. It may require more patience and determination on your part for training purposes, but with a bit of effort, success can be achieved!

Puppies and dogs need to understand when, where, and how they should eat, sleep, drink water, urinate and defecate. This helps prevent accidents on carpets, furniture, and other areas that they should not be in.

With proper house training, your pup will learn that certain behaviors are unacceptable within the home and will be more likely to obey commands and stay out of trouble.

Obedience Training Stages

No matter the age of your canine companion, it is never too late or too early to begin teaching them basic commands and tricks. Once your pup has reached three or four months of age, their attention span will be long enough for them to begin picking up those commands!

Before beginning the process of teaching your pet basic commands, make sure to keep these considerations in mind.

  • Pinpoint what drives your pup to work. Some dogs are swayed by a delectable treat, while others prefer toys and playtime as their incentive.
  • Always keep food rewards small and concise. Your pup should receive no more than a morsel in the mouth; otherwise, their training will be disrupted from munching on an excessive treat.
  • To provide extra motivation for your pup, consider offering a combination of his regular kibble plus an exceptionally scrumptious treat like cheese or sausage when he does something outstanding.

We have categorized the tricks and commands into three distinct levels based on their complexity. Let’s get through them one by one.

Obedience training puppy

Stage 1 - Beginner

To commence the initial phase, begin training your pup in a tranquil environment with minimal disturbances so that their attention remains on you. Start your journey with these commands!

Sit

Teaching your dog the sit command is an essential part of having a well-mannered pet. It’s also an easy one to master with the right approach. To start, secure your pup’s attention with an appetizing treat in hand:

  • Position yourself in front of them while standing or kneeling, holding your hand slightly higher than the top of their head.
  • Guide your four-legged friend into the desired position by carefully drawing his attention to the treat. Move it slowly in a straight line above and behind him, causing his nose to point upwards while he lowers himself down towards the floor.
  • As your pup settles into the sitting pose, confidently command “sit!” and make a corresponding hand signal for extra clarity.
  • Once your pup is in the right place, reward them with a delicious treat and compliments like ‘Well done!’.
  • If your canine friend isn’t understanding what you are asking of them, you may find it useful to pet them down their back or tap lightly with your fingers at their hip as a subtle hint.

Repeat the same process multiple times, as your pup becomes more familiar with this command, you can start to phase out the treats and use verbal praise instead.

Obedience training sit

Down

If your pooch has already learned the Sit command, then this trick should be a breeze. However, despite its apparent simplicity, teaching the down command can be difficult as many dogs feel submissive when in that position. To get started:

  • Bring your dog into the sit position, and then take a knee in front of them.
  • Entice your pup by wafting a delectable treat in front of its nose, then slowly lower it to the floor while firmly commanding ‘Down’ and making an appropriate hand gesture.
  • As your pooch moves downwards, it may become lax. If this occurs, guide them with the treat by moving it in either direction to encourage desired behavior.
  • The moment your pup is in the correct position, reward them with a treat and express how proud you are.
  • If you’re having a hard time teaching your pup the down position, try guiding it with your hands on its shoulders and providing subtle taps to indicate what you want.

Utilize the command again and gently direct with a reward. Never force your pup onto the floor, but instead lavish them in compliments as soon as they get there themselves.

Stay

Teaching your dog the “stay” command can be a great way to help them learn self-control and patience. To help with training, you’ll need both a short and long lead. To become a pro at this technique, your pup should already be able to perform either the Sit or Lay positions.

  • To begin, ensure that your pup is in the sit or down position.
  • Assertively command your pup to ‘stay’ while creating the accompanying hand signal for reinforcement.
  • Gradually take a few steps away (Ideally 2 feet) from your pup, all the while maintaining eye contact to ensure their comfort.
  • After your pooch holds its stance for five seconds, take a step back and provide them with an appetizing treat as you laud its accomplishment.
  • If your pup strays from its spot, gently guide them back to the original location and give it another try.

Come

This is an essential instruction for any dog owner, but especially those who want to take their pup off-leash. For this exercise to be successful, your furry friend should already know ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘stay’.

  • Start by having your pup in either a sit, down, or stay position, then take their long lead and walk away from them a short distance.
  • Firmly, yet kindly say “come” as you make a hand gesture while showing a treat. Under no circumstances should you tug on their leash.
  • If your canine is reluctant to come when standing up, try getting down to their level to help them feel more comfortable and secure.
  • Upon your pup’s arrival, reward them with a yummy treat and lots of cheerful praise!

Refrain from exposing your pup to off-leash experiences until this command is completely understood and he reliably responds; otherwise, it can put you or other people in a precarious situation.

Loose leash walking

With loose leash walking, your pup can enjoy walks without constantly pulling on their leash, making the experience more enjoyable for both pet and owner. Here’s how to teach it:

  • Put the harness or collar on your pup and attach the leash.
  • As you walk, hold a treat in one hand and gently guide your pup with the leash in the other hand.
  • Every time your pup walks by your side for a few steps, give them a treat and lots of praise.
  • Gradually increase the number of steps you ask your pup to walk before giving a treat, eventually aiming for all four paws to be on the ground for several seconds.
  • Once your pup is consistently walking well, you can add more space to the leash as a reward for good behavior.
  • If at any point, your pooch moves ahead of you, stop walking and call them back to you. Once they are in the proper position next to you, praise them, give them a treat and repeat the above process.
  • As your dog gets better at keeping the leash loose, decrease the number of treats given and replace them with verbal praise.

With enough repetition, your pup will understand that when they stay by your side, they are rewarded with a treat.

Obedience training heal

Stage 2 - Intermediate

Once your pup has a handle on the beginner commands, you can progress to intermediate-level directions. It is beneficial to start training in different environments with increased distractions such as outdoors.

This will further strengthen their ability to focus on you and the commands!

Short Stay

Perfecting an already-acquired stay command with the short-stay technique is a great way to teach your pup to consistently follow orders. You just need to keep repeating the same steps as if you were teaching him an ordinary stay command – but this time,

  • Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet between you and your pup.
  • Wait for 15 seconds, then give them their reward. Do this several more times, each time increasing the delay between the stay command and their reward by three to five seconds.
  • Keep gradually increasing the length of time until you hit at least 30 seconds.

This will help your pup understand that even from a distance, he is expected to stay in the position until you give him the command to move.

Obedience training stay

Short Distance Spot

The Short Distance Spot skill helps you foster better communication between you and your pet. The goal of this skill is for your dog to move from one spot to another on command to receive a reward.

  • Firstly, locate a distance of approximately six to eight feet away from your dog.
  • Place a treat or toy on the spot, then give your dog the command “spot” or whatever verbal cue you will use for this skill.
  • Once your dog reaches the spot, give him lots of praise and a treat.
  • Repeat this process several times until your dog gets comfortable going to the spot on command.

This skill can also be used for agility and obedience competitions, as it is a great way to show off your pet’s intelligence and responsiveness.

Almost Off-Leash Walking

After your pup has perfected the art of loose-leash walking, it’s time to take things up a notch! Show them how much trust you have in them by giving them some extra freedom. Repeat the same steps as for loose leash walking- but this time add an exciting new twist:

  • Take advantage of a long training leash (up to 10-15 meters) for “almost off-leash walking” in an enclosed area.
  • As you progress, lengthen your dog’s training leash and practice having them remain by your side while focusing on you as you maneuver throughout the enclosed area.

If at any time your dog begins to get out of control or act unpredictably, shorten the leash and resume walking on a loosely leashed walk. This will remind your dog who is in charge and make sure you both stay safe.

Obedience training preheal

Stage 3 - Advance

As your dog grows, take the already mastered tricks to another level by making them more complex in the end stages. During this process, your dog will eventually become a dedicated companion with immense willpower and remarkable obedience.

Long Stay

The long-stay technique is an advanced iteration of the short-stay approach. This technique requires you to maintain a longer period of time between giving your dog their reward and the stay command. To practice this command:

  • You will need to maintain a distance of at least 20 feet or 5-6 meters between you and your pup.
  • Then, wait for 30 seconds before giving them their reward.
  • Gradually increase the distance (one foot each time) and the length of time until you hit at least one minute.

As you advance the distance, never take your eyes off of them – otherwise, they may think that you’re abandoning them, which would be quite disorienting for your pup.

Long-Distance Spot

Long distance spot is the more enhanced command used to train your dog at greater distances than Short Distance Spot. The idea behind this command is to reward your dog for being calm and obedient at longer distances.

  • For long-distance spots, place the treat approximately fifteen to twenty feet away from your dog and give your dog the command “spot”.
  • Reward your buddy with praise and treat once he gets there.
  • As your pup becomes more skilled, gradually expand the distance between you and the spot.

If your pup starts to hesitate or takes too long to get to the spot, you may need to bring the distance closer and go back to basics.

Walking Off-Leash

Taking your canine companion on an off-leash walk is the ultimate skill that will let them explore and experience their environment with you in a safe way.

Before beginning, be sure your pup has grasped all of the fundamental commands, displaying full confidence and obedience when following instructions. Once you’re both ready;

  • Begin training in a fenced area of your home or dog park.
  • Remove the lead and start with simple commands like ‘stay’, ‘down’, ‘come’ and ‘sit’ and reward your pup with treats each time they respond correctly.
  • Once your pup is comfortable responding to basic commands while off-leash, you can start working on adding distractions like other dogs or people into the equation. Introduce one distraction at a time and reward him for staying calm and not wandering away from you.
  • If they start to wander away, gently call them back to you and continue the exercise.
  • As your pup becomes more relaxed, steadily increase the distance while still keeping track of them; reward their obedience when they come back to you.
  • As your furry friend’s trust in his off-leash abilities grows, you’ll be able to let him run free in public spaces.

Be sure to always check local regulations regarding off-leash pet exercises, as these vary depending on location.

Obedience training Rules sign
Obedience training Rules sign

Key Points To Keep in Mind

Here are a few essential considerations to keep in mind while teaching your pup obedience.

  • To ensure the best possible results from training sessions, keep them to no longer than 10-15 minutes in duration, as puppies possess a limited concentration span.
  • When you get stuck on a specific command, don’t get frustrated. Instead, try another one and come back to the challenging one later when your dog has gained more experience.
  • Don’t be discouraged if your pup doesn’t master commands quickly; some behaviors may take weeks to teach and perfect.
  • In addition to verbal commands, consider incorporating hand signals as well. This will help your dog understand what you’re asking them to do even if they’re at a distance or in a noisy environment.
  • Make sure that your pup is wearing a tag with their name and owner contact information just in case they wander too far.
  • To make training sessions fun for both of you, end the lesson by presenting your pup with a yummy treat or toy and plenty of affection. This way he’ll look forward to learning more next time!

Final Thoughts

Teaching your pup obedience is an important part of its development as a well-behaved and enjoyable pet. Not only will it make daily activities such as walks and playtime more enjoyable, but it can also help protect them from danger in public spaces. You’ll be able to take your pup anywhere without having to worry about them running away or creating mischief. Obedience training takes time and patience, but the effort is well worth it.

Have you ever faced difficulty during obedience training? How did you get over it? Share your tips and experiences in the comments section below!

 

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal is a licensed veterinarian with more than 5 years of experience in veterinary medicine. After receiving his DVM degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, he worked as a
veterinarian in both government and private sectors. He has a deep passion for animal welfare and has been working for various animal welfare organizations since he was a student. Being President of Animal Rescue Organization Pakistan (AROP), he has been actively involved in animal rescue and welfare activities. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his rescue dogs and cats. 

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