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Dog Training Guide from Our Experts to Better Behaving Pets

7 dog training myths

Dog Trainer Basil Theofanides delves into the Top 7 Dog Training Myths, which impact dogs of all different shapes, sizes and breeds along with their owners.

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Regardless of whether this is your first foray into dog ownership or you’re a seasoned keeper of man’s best friend, properly training your dog is essential. Dog obedience training not only makes for a more enjoyable experience as an owner, it also supports your dog to develop healthy behaviours and can help to keep them safe.

But where do you begin with puppy training? What are the essential dog training tips that you should be focused on? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of dog behaviour training for a well-behaved pooch and a happy household.


Why Train A Dog? 

It may be tempting to think that your new addition will simply fall into line and gradually grasp the basics of good behaviour, however, this simply is not the case. All dogs benefit from and need proper training. While this does not have to mean complex tricks and impressive feats of intelligence, it is important they can manage the basics.


Even the most ardent dog lover will tell you, the best dogs are those that are well-trained. Nobody enjoys a dog that jumps into people's faces, toilets in the house, refuses to come when called or behaves poorly around food. The good news? All of this and more can be remedied with some proper training.


Additionally, training your dog keeps them and others safe. A dog that stops on command or comes when called can help them avoid being injured and stop them from reacting poorly to other dogs or humans and/or getting lost. 

Can I Train My Own Dog? 

Absolutely you can! In fact, training your dog yourself can be a wonderfully rewarding experience that strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. 


There are so many great and easily accessible tools to support you with training thanks to the internet that anyone, with dedication, can successfully train their dog.


If it is your first dog, or you are struggling with a particularly boisterous or stubborn pup, of course, there are professionals available who can support you with this.


Choosing Rewards


Before you get started with your training, you’ll need to find the right way to motivate your dog to listen and follow your instructions. 


For some dogs this is easy - food! For those that do not respond well to food, you may like to try enthusiastic praise such as saying ‘yes!’ or ‘good dog!’,  physical contact (pats, cuddles etc) or using their favourite toy. 


Once you’ve found the right way to motivate and reward your dog, you’re ready to begin!  

The 8 Essentials Of Dog Training 

No matter which dog training guide you look at, the majority will all agree that the following are the foundations for good behaviour in dogs:

  1. House Training 

  2. Also known as potty training or toilet training, this involves teaching your dog the appropriate place to go to the toilet. 


    How to: The key to instilling appropriate toileting behaviours in your dog is to be diligent and consistent. You should take your dog outside at regular intervals to allow them time to relieve themselves. When you see them in the act, use a word of your choosing such as ‘toilet’ so they can link this command with the action. 


    Caught them in the act inside? Don’t respond negatively, remember, they're learning, simply take them outside immediately and repeat the command. Over time, they will learn both the command and the expectation that going to the bathroom needs to be done outside. 

  3. Name Recognition/Coming When Called 

  4. Your dog must recognise and respond to their name. This ensures they return to you when called. This command is usually linked with the word ‘come’ - i.e. calling the dog's name, followed by the word come (for example, ‘Loki, come’)


    How to: If your dog is naturally inclined to return to you when called, this is great! Practice this and give them a reward each time they come back when called by name. For more easily distracted or defiant pups, you may need to employ the use of a long lead (10-15 metres) and call them while reeling them in towards you. 


    Over time and with much positive reinforcement your dog will learn that returning to you when they hear their name or the word ‘come’ elicits a happy outcome such as a treat or a cuddle.

  5. Sit

  6. Essential for keeping an excitable dog from jumping up on visitors, sit is a great command that also ties into teaching other good behaviour that we discuss further on. 


    How to: Hold a treat above your dog's head and let it tilt its head upwards towards it. Slowly move the treat further back behind their head until they sit down trying to reach it. Once they sit, say ‘sit’ and reward them with the treat. 

  7. Lie Down

  8. Once your dog has mastered sit, you can move on to teaching it to lie down on command. Lie down is a handy command for teaching your dog when to rest or be calm. 


    How to: Ask your dog to sit, then hold a treat in front of its nose and slowly lower it to the floor and drag it away from them until the dog is forced to lie down to get near it. Once they are lying down, say ‘lie down’ and reward them. 

  9. Stay/Wait

  10. Ideal for teaching good manners around food or entering the home or car, stay and wait can be a little more tricky to teach.


    How to: Once your dog has mastered ‘sit’, ask them to sit and then slowly back away from them. If they move towards you, firmly say ‘no, stay (or wait). Have them sit again and repeat this process until they stay while you back away and reward them when they do not move. Over time, you will be able to move further and further away while your dog remains sitting.

  11. Leave It/Drop It

  12. Important for safety when out and about and also for fun when playing with toys, teaching ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’ is one of our favourite puppy training tips. It comes in particularly handy when teaching your puppy not to run off with, or destroy things they shouldn’t. 


    How to: Using two toys (or treats), one behind your back and one in your hand, offer the one in your hand to your dog to sniff (closed fist can be used) and say ‘leave it’ if they attempt to grab it. Continue doing this till they lose interest and walk away, then reward them with the hidden treat or toy. You may also like to incorporate ‘no’, as part of the command ‘no, leave it’ as this way you can also teach them the importance of ‘no’ at the same time. 

  13. Heel 

  14. Walking with your dog should be an enjoyable experience for you both, pulling, lunging, spinning and similar behaviours can quickly turn a nice walk into a nightmare. To curb these behaviours you need to teach your dog to heel. 


    How to: While walking with your dog periodically stop and have them sit, show them a treat, hold it in front of them and continue walking, keeping them on a short firm leash. Every few steps that your dog remains in pace with you and doesn't lunge ahead for the treat, reward them and say ‘heel’. 

  15. Speak/Quiet 


    Teaching your dog to speak is the best way to also teach them to be quiet. By showing your dog how to speak on command, it is easier to teach them the reverse. This is useful for helping eliminate unwanted barking behaviour which can become problematic and disruptive. 


    How to: Hide a treat in your hand and let your dog sniff it, let them get excited or frustrated enough about the treat that they bark at you about it. When this happens, say ‘speak’ and then give them the reward.


    Once they understand the command to speak, you can then follow their bark with the command ‘quiet’. When they stop barking, reward them and repeat the ‘quiet’ command. 


Next Steps

This list of initial commands is by no means exhaustive but sets out the foundation from which you can approach other behavioural commands or fun trick training. We guarantee you’ll feel a special sense of pride each time your dog masters a new trick or demonstrates its fantastic manners while out in public. 


Remember, to only ever use positive reinforcement when training your dog and to be consistent when it comes to training. For puppies learning the basics, aside from toilet training, you should master one trick before moving to the next and do short bursts of training multiple times a day to help things stick. We recommend doing two or three 10-15 minute training sessions each day. 

How Your Vet Can Help 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed training your puppy and need some additional puppy training advice (or dog training tips for older additions) your vet is a great place to begin. 


Able to direct you to trusted trainers in your area and check your dog for any health concerns which could make training more challenging, your vet will be your biggest support in training your dog for success.