How to Train Your Dog with Commands and Rewards

Although dogs should not be attributed with having human behavioural characteristics, they are intelligent enough to be able to grasp the concept of, and execute, certain actions that their owners require of them – if these actions are requested in a way that dogs find rewarding. So, with this principle in mind, owners have to be clever too, and find a way of training their dog that works quickly and effectively. This article explains how to achieve this ideal – how to speak ‘dog’ and communicate effectively with your four-legged friend.

The right start

In only a short time, you will be amazed at how much you can achieve in training your dog to respond to your directions and behave as you wish, providing you address it correctly. Don’t aim to do everything at once, especially if there is more than one area or problem to deal with.

Train Dog

Commands and rewards

Successful training is based upon a simple principle – reward and withholding reward. Generally, dogs love to please their owners, and enjoy doing so even more when they are rewarded for it. Reward-based training is, therefore, the key to attaining a happy and obedient dog. Rewarding every desired behaviour for a particular word combined with an action will evoke a learned response. Eventually, that response will become automatic every time you say the command or display the action (just like you would automatically check your wristwatch if someone asked you the time.)

Food is an all-important aspect of canine life, and therefore food rewards are likely to get the desired behaviour results you require. Food-training (i.e. teaching your dog to sit, stay and wait before he is given his food, and to leave it until he is given permission to eat) marks a good start to achieving obedience in all other areas of behaviour.

Using ‘train brain’

  • Be consistent in your commands and actions. Stick to the same words for commands, such as ‘down’, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ as changing words will confuse your dog. Stick with them, even if they take time to sink in. Make sure that all family members use those commands and actions and follow your instigated code of behaviour.
  • Reward desired behaviour with food, a favourite toy or attention, and your dog will learn fast.
  • Vocal commands should be encouraging and kept at an even pitch.
  • Keep commands clear and well spaced out – certainly at first – so as not to confuse your dog.
  • If your dog has learnt to ignore a command, and thinks it means something else – such as when you say ‘heel’ and he is walking ahead of you and pulling, therefore he associates ‘heel’ with pulling – then change it for another word when you begin retraining (in this case, you could use ‘side’).
  • Never raise your voice or use violence in anger – this is counterproductive.
  • Make sure everyone who comes in contact with the dog follows your rules for him. If you don’t allow him on the furniture, no one else should either; otherwise you will end up with a bewildered pet.

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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