In general, training should be fun for both humans and dogs if it is going to stick. The first part of having a great relationship with your dog is learning how to communicate. If you are using commands, use your words and tone of voice to get their attention. To teach your dog what you want them to do, you must be consistent when giving commands and reward good behavior. After all, this is training!
10 Ways to Encourage Your Dog to Follow Commands
1. Praising your dog for doing the right thing.
Make sure to be calm and respectful when giving praise to your dog. No matter how much they have learned or what they have done, reinforce their good behavior with words of encouragement. Praise will let them know that they did something right, and praise will help build confidence in them.
2. Use a treat for a reward.
If you have a treat on hand, use it as an incentive to get your dog to pay attention and listen to what you are saying. When they know that the only way they will get a reward is listening, then that is when they will listen. If you don’t want your dog eating the treats right away, then freeze them or place them in another location until needed.
3. Use praise to reinforce commands.
There are several ways to reinforce your dog’s behavior. If you want them to sit, use a treat or praise. For a good recall, use a treat and the word “come.” For “leave it,” say no and then get down and barely touch the item that is on the ground or in their mouth. For walking on a loose leash, tell them “let’s go” and use treats/toys/climbing poles as rewards if you need to reinforce this command. Forgoing into a car, a dog-door, or crate, tell them to go and associate the reward with getting in.
4. Get down on the floor with your dog, so they have to look you in the eyes.
When you are on the floor with your dog, it will help them know that you are in charge. Sit close to them and make eye contact with them. When they get down, use your hand to bring them up once they have good quiet behavior for a few seconds. If they try to get up against your legs or try to jump up, be firm and go back down so that no matter where their head is, it looks at you.
5. Use a leash to teach your dog how to walk beside you.
Use the leash to help your dog have good quiet behavior. If they are pulling too much, then the slower you walk, the more they will pull. Ensure that both of you are comfortable with this method, and if you can’t stay consistent with this method, it will not work well for you.
6. Go out on a walk.
If your dog is constantly barking or whining at night, taking them on walks will help relax them. It can also help to calm them down if they are hyper and anxious.
7. Get a dog door for your house.
A dog door can help your dog feel like they can come and go as they please. This will help them feel comfortable and happy when they are in the house. Your dog should know the rules for going outside and coming back in. You should have a small area to do their business without being too far away from you.
8. Use a crate to get your dog to behave safely.
You can use crates to give your dog somewhere safe in which they can feel secure and comfortable. You have to teach them how to use it so that they aren’t too worried when they are in the crate. If you want to crate train your dog, then make sure that they get into the crate when it is time to go in for a night or when you are away from home. Then praise them and let them know that they did well.
9. Practice positive reinforcement.
Instead of yelling at your dog when they are barking or whining, try to use positive reinforcement. Praise them when they are quiet, and use treats to get them to keep barking. If you want to stop their barking, take the treat away from them when they keep barking. If you want to give your dog attention for whining or barking, then give it when they are quiet for a few minutes.
10. Play with your dog.
Playtime should be for your enjoyment and your dog’s enjoyment. If they are not having fun or are too rough, you need to find another way to interact. Teaching them to play nicely is very important. Then, when your friends or family come over, you can have them join in on the fun!
Everyone in the family should have clear expectations of the kind of behavior they expect from your dog.
The more consistent you are, the more likely your dog will be to figure out what your rules are. Limit how many things you have for your dog to do at one time. Your dog must know that if he is not doing what you want, he won’t get to do anything fun! If your dog has a good recall, then work hard to keep it strong. This will help them to do better with other commands. Practice all of the commands that you want to work on, and take it slow.