The Importance of Basic Obedience Training for Your Dog
The ‘Sit’ command is important for two reasons:
One: This helps your dog calm down, to ‘center his puppy focus’ if you will. When your pup is sitting, he is probably focused on you. He isn’t jumping frantically, trying to leap on top of people, or zipping around chewing everything in sight.
Two: Probably more importantly, the ‘sit’ command is considered a base command for a plethora of other dog tricks!
One of two highly effective ‘dog walking’ methods I like to use involve the sit command; it couldn’t be accomplished without it. Many retrieval commands begin with ‘sit’. You can’t teach ‘lie down’ without first teaching sit.
The list goes on and on; practically endlessly!
Training a ‘sit’ is very simple. Place your hand behind your dog, preventing him from backing up, , and ‘lure’ his nose/head upward and slightly back with a treat, eventually leading to a sitting position. As soon as his butt touches the ground, reward him with that treat and praise! Repeat this a few times daily until your dog makes the connection with the spoken command word you are using.
Like the sit command, stay is not only useful as a base command for a plethora of other tricks/commands, an effective ‘stay’ keeps your dog centered and out of trouble.
Take the two hypothetical situations above (well, maybe the second). With a strong ‘stay’, that wouldn’t be a problem. No longer will you worry about visiting company, not when your dog is nice and calm at your side instead of racing toward the door. This is especially important for working dogs and hunting breeds; you’ll want to be able to control when your dog chooses to bolt after other animals, especially if they are large and potentially dangerous.
Many of us have seen professional Dog Shows on television. Remember how the dogs walk in perfect sync with the handler, like a marching group of soldiers? That is a bit more advanced form of a heel, or ‘walk nicely beside me without pulling’, and takes both patience and coordination on the trainer’s part, but it is a perfect example.
To achieve this level of perfection, the handler will begin by offering a treat with every single step (requires a bit more coordination on the handler’s part than most), so their dogs are always at their side, attentively waiting for that treat with every step. Over time, the frequency of treats diminishes.
Walking your dog can either be an enjoyable, calm way to experience nature, or a constant ongoing struggle. Training a dog to walk nicely (without the use of uncomfortable aversives, like slip collars) takes patience and time, more so than most other dog tricks out there. Walking slowly beside a human, foregoing their desire to experience all of the scents nature has to offer, doesn’t come naturally.
In the end, basic obedience training is exactly that- very basic, a foundation all dogs should probably learn. Think of it this way- we all learned to read and write before attempting other languages!