Tips and Techniques For Basic Dog Training


"Commands and techniques for basic dog training involve understanding the way dogs communicate. Their body position, face and sounds indicate what they are thinking or how they are reacting to you.

Many training issues have to do with how an owner confuses a dog in terms of indicating what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. A good way to think about dog training is to link following your commands to the things a dog enjoys such as eating where you say "sit" before feeding. Getting your dog in the habit of obeying commands will carry across all situations. Puppy training should start between 8 and 16 weeks ."


Understanding Basic dog training is absolutely necessary for having a well adjusted puppy or dog and for keeping your dog under control. Training teaches your dog various basic and useful techniques such as dog obedience. Critical to training is a good disciplined regimen and techniques that encourage the desired dog behavior.

Basic dog training starts with an educated dog owner. There are skills you can learn so that you in turn can teach your dog basic obedience commands. We do not believe in using hard sounds or other harsh punishment in favor of using rewards and praise. Punishment is part of training, but more in the form of taking away a reward, such as restricting a dog's freedom to wander from room to room when not listening to your commands.

5 Basic Basic Dog Training Tips:

  • Be realistic with your expectations and keep your dog training short, simple and fun.
  • Learn to give one command at a time so that your dog will not be confused and always reward the desired action immediately.
  • Be consistent with your training methods and keep your commands clear and concise all the time.
  • Always call your dog to you to give affection, never the other way round.
  • Always end each training session on a positive note so that your dog will look forward to your next training session.
  • Never use your dog's name when scolding or correcting a behavior. Always use it when providing praise. This is one of our favorite basic dog training tips as it associates the dog's name with an emotional reward, your praise.

Dog Training Timeline

Dog training can start at approximately 4 to 6 weeks of age, although puppies should not be separated from the litter until age 8 to 9 weeks. This will ensure that the pups are properly socialized with other dogs.

At age 4 to 14 weeks, a puppy can be socialized with new people and other animals. Training starts in earnest at age 12 weeks to 6 months. Puppies are like human toddlers and will test you to see what they can do and not do.

At 6 months to 18 months puppies require training to ensure that bad habits do not develop.

How to Start Basic Dog Training

Consider enrolling you and your dog in a basic dog training class. This is a great way to learn the basics. What follows are some tips that may help as you teach your dog obedience and positive behaviors.

Always give every desired behavior a unique command. Some researchers believe that dogs can learn around 150 words.

Basic Dog Training Commands:

There are six basic dog training commands that every dog owner would like their puppy or adult dog to follow.  See the instructions below for each command.

  1. Sit 
  2. Come
  3. Down
  4. Off
  5. Stay
  6. Walk

Always put your dog on a lead before starting any of the following basic dog training techniques. Train with a Collar and Lead: Purchase a nylon or leather collar (buckle type). Your puppy will eventually get used to the collar. Do not approach your puppy, but make it clear you want to be followed when pulling gently on the lead. Encourage your dog to walk towards you while he is on the leash. Clapping your hands may help. Keep the lead on in the house and let the puppy drag it around if he or she is having trouble getting used to it. The goal with the lead is to always have slack.

The "woodhouse" collar is a good basic dog training tool. The collar is made of round metal links which will not hurt your dog. When a dog doesn't obey, you can snap the collar to the side of the dog so that the dog doesn't see you doing it. You should be standing to the side, out of direct view. The goal is to have the undesirable behaviors associated with corrections provided the collar - the snap, not you.

Basic Dog Training Techniques:

  1. Sit Dog Training Command: The first command to teach a puppy (start around week 8 to 16) is the sit command. Help the dog sit by squatting down next to him. Using your hand, place it on the back of the rear legs. Say sit and apply slight pressure. Praise your dog when he does sit. Don't criticize if he quickly gets up. Provide food when he obeys. After a while only use praise with no food.

  2. Down Command: Once your dog has mastered the sit command, move to the down command. Here, press gently against the right shoulder while saying down. Use the left hand to hold the dog's left leg. Then say "down". Praise your dog once in position. Use food and praise, eliminating food over time.

  3. Come Command: Teach this command indoors in a room with no noise and distractions. Say "come" and then give praise, even if the dog doesn't come. That's right, praise, even when the dog isn't following the command. Assume he will. Try and act like you want your puppy to come to you. If you are a family, have different people call your dog from different rooms with the "come" command. Once mastered in doors, try it in an outdoor space. When your dog looks away, hide and then say come. This will train your dog to watch you at all times.

  4. No Bite Command: Biting is a common problem in puppies. Hold your dog's lead about 2 feet from the dog. If your dog attempts to bite your arm and leg, give a firm "no bite" command. Provide praise when your puppy lets go.

  5. Off Command: The off command is also a useful and common command. Do not push or pull your dog. An easy method is to leave the lead on your dog. If you believe he is going to jump, step on the lead before he does, so it is not possible.  Praise him and instruct "sit" at the same time. Your dog will associate jumping with the the lead tug and will stop to avoid this feel on his neck. This of the "sit" command as redirecting your dog to a positive behavior.

  6. Let's Go Command: Place your dog on the lead. Hold the lead in your left hand, with your dog on the left. Have a toy in the right. Say "let's go" and hold the toy in front of your chest so the dog can see it. Snap the lead if your dog jumps, but tease with the toy so that your dog follows. Give your dog the toy after 30 seconds or so. Do not start "going" at first.

Be sure to hold the lead correctly, with your right hand through the lead loop, and then rest it on your chest. The right hand should only hold the lead. The left hand should manipulate the lead as you direct your dog.

Housebreaking a Puppy

Puppies go to the bathroom every 3 hours; adults need to go every 4 to 5 hours. This schedule varies based on your dog's age and breed.

House training or housebreaking a puppy requires the start of a routine. Take your puppy outside when you wake up, with a command such as "go potty." Do not say the command until the puppy is actually going to the bathroom so that a clear association is established between the act and the command.

Pick a single spot, but also vary this once in a while so that your puppy learns to pee on a variety of surfaces.

Reward your puppy with praise afterwards and perhaps an occasional treat so that it is not expected each time. Only use your dog's name when praising a successful outcome. Do not use it during or with a command. This way hearing her name will become a reward in and of itself since it is only used with praise.

Do not reenter the home until your puppy has gone to the bathroom. Expect 1 to 2 "number 2" events (feces) per day. When returning inside, play with your dog for a few minutes.

Then provide food and water. After your puppy has eaten, take him or her outside again. If you need to leave the home, guide the puppy to his or her crate.

Crate Training

One universal basic dog training technique is crate training. We prefer crate training for many reasons vs. using pee pads since this trains a puppy to use the pads, and then you need to retrain the pup to go outdoors. Crate training avoids all of this.

Basic Dog Training Tip: Do not leave food or water in the crate. A great idea is to provide a toy that stimulates mental activity such as a Kong toy which uses hidden treats to engage a dog.

Crate training is based on the understanding that puppies naturally will not want to pee where they live. Make sure the crate isn't too large and avoid bedding until the training is complete. It's a good idea to put a cloth and soft item in the crate from the owners such as a pillow case or shirt.

Note that if you bought your puppy from a store, the puppy may have learned to pee in the holding area or crate. If this is the case, discuss the issue with your vet or trainer for behavior modification exercises.

It is ok to keep the crate in your bedroom and then move it when the puppy is young. Ask your vet about crate size but in general the crate should be large enough for the puppy to lie down, turn around and stand up. Older or adult dogs can have a create that allows her to stretch out.

If you see your puppy starting to pee in the home, quickly say "no", or "stop" or clap your hands and say "no." Pick your pup up and take him or her outside. Do not punish.

Basic Dog Training Tip: Do not scoop up the poop until the next one is made in the same location. This will "mark" the spot and signal to your puppy where to go to the bathroom.

In general, dogs will need to urinate 4 times each day.

One basic dog training technique for dogs that seem to have forgot the training is to be all business outdoors with your dog until he goes to the bathroom. Do not play, meet other people etc until the task is completed. Encourage your dog to go to the bathroom with commands such as "go potty" etc. If you see no action in 15 minutes, bring your dog back inside, but tether the leash or lead to a pole. This will signal that the loss of freedom is the price for not obeying your commands.

For Further Reading on basic dog training:

Essential Dog Training Tips That You Should Know

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