3.2 - Dog Exercise & Training

4 Basic Dog Training Classes

Have you seen “How to train your Dragon”? Great flick, right? “How to train your Dog” would certainly be a completely different movie… Teaching their furry friend some good manners is a must for any concerned dog owner. Don’t know how to achieve this? You just need some treats, marker words (a word or phrase you use to tell your dog they did something correct) and a leash. Prepare yourself to be patient – you can be lucky, if your buddy is part of the smartest dog breeds. But remember – dog training classes will also enrich you, contribute to strengthen the connection between you and your best friend and, of course, it’ll turn your buddy into a lady or a gentledog! 🐶

Dog training classes checklist

Before getting started, be sure you have everything you need:

  1. A leash;
  2. A collar or harness;
  3. A couple of dog treats your puppy loves;
  4. Tons of patience, and a calm and relaxed mindset! 😌

A quick note regarding treats

Before we get started, here’s something to consider: dogs give different values to treats. So if the trick you’re asking for your buddy to perform is a hard one, don’t forget to reward them with something that they really cherish. 🍪

For some dogs, showing affection is just enough; for others, kibble works great… And there are always the ones who will only move mountains for that exquisite cheese you have in your fridge. Always be aware of the amounts given, and if needed, cut back on your dog’s daily meals. Divide each treat in tiny little bits. What matters is you rewarding your dog with something they love, and not how big the treat is!

Alright – are you ready to face the challenge?

1. “Sit down” training

  1. Grab a reward – something your puppy loves, like a treat or a toy – and let them stand up. Your dog will attempt to do almost anything for the reward, so once they sit down, give the reward and choose a marker word for your dog to associate with the desired behavior. Repeat this short movement many times and always using the same word, before giving them a treat.
  2. Lure them when giving them the treat by opening the hand you were previously using, except this time, with nothing on it. Give them the treat with the other hand instead – this way you’ll be able to teach them how to sit without the aid of food.
  3. After that, move your hand up and back in order to make your dog sit. When that happens, don’t give them a treat, but visual cues instead – to make them understand they’re going good – as well as the marker word along with “sit”.
  4. With more training, they’ll start to understand that when you say “sit” and use the same visual cue (can be a gesture or even a smile), they should sit down – but don’t forget to reward them with the marker word in the end!

2. “Come here” training

  1. As it happens with many dog training classes, make sure you have a treat or a toy your dog really loves and choose a marker word. Avoid using your dog’s name as the marker word! It’s likely that you use their name in other contexts, so it can get confusing. For this training session, it’s recommended that you chose a really high value treat. It will be easy for your dog to focus while they are inside, but once they are outdoors and all the smells, sounds and excitement strikes, some of them cannot easily be bought by a simple slice of apple. Go big (in terms of taste and not size) or go home, is what is said!
    Also, choose an objective: you don’t want your dog just to come at you, but also to take an action, like touching your hand with their nose.
  2. The second step is to present them the hand you often use to give them the reward. After some repetitions with you giving them the reward and using the marker word, they’ll understand they’re behaving well.
  3. Now that they understand they’ll be given a reward and listen to the marker word everytime they touch your hand with their nose, you should change things up and only show them the hand with nothing on it, but allowing them to touch it with their nose again.
  4. Finally, start walking away from them. Then stop and show them the hand. They won’t hesitate to run towards you!

3. “Lie down” training

  1. Open your hand close to the floor and let your dog lie down to get the treat. After that, pronounce the marker word. Do this a couple of times.
  2. The next step is to do this, but without the treat. Your dog should still react properly. In the end, you can give them the treat, but using a different hand.
  3. Then, start using a visual cue (like the “lie down” gesture with your hand) and wait for them to lie down. Again, feed them the treat by opening the other hand!

4.  “Leave it” training

  1. Yes, we’re asking you for a treat and a marker word – but this is the last time! Let’s try it with “leave it!”.
  2. Start by testing your dog’s taste: offer them a treat and check if they like it. They do? Great, let’s continue with the next step.
  3. Throw a treat on the floor, but cover it with your hand and don’t let your dog eat it. Then, say “leave it!” and, with the other hand, feed them another treat – but keep the treat that is in the floor covered.
  4. Now, let them see the treat but hold on to the leash so your dog cannot reach it. Say the marker word until your buddy’s focus shifts to you and reward right away with a high value treat. The goal is for them to ignore the treat that is on the floor and eat the one you’re giving instead. Repeat until perfection in a controlled environment, and only then start the outdoor lessons.

Keep in mind that most of the steps listed are general tips – for better results, check out the accompanying videos. And remember, if you need any help, the Maven vet team is here for you!

Are you ready to start training your dog? Have you taught your buddy any other fun moves? Share some basic dog training classes with us on the comment box! 👇

Maven is all about proactive pet care. Be your best friend’s best friend by giving them 24/7, high-quality, industry-leading vet care to improve their mental health, physical health and more. No more frantic googling or unneeded stressful visits to the vet – Maven helps you save hundreds while also ensuring your pet lives the best life possible. Get your kit now!

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