Obedience is a key aspect of owning a dog, and it takes time for them to learn what’s good and what isn’t. Unlike children, they don’t go to a school to learn new words every day so you have to keep your language basic and simple. Don’t use different words for the same command as it will confuse them.
Most commands are taught overtime and cannot be done in just a few days. These can be random commands that you don’t even realise that the dog is learning. For example, if your dog loves lying on the couch but gets hair all over it, you will say something ‘off’ while gently pushing him/her off the couch. If you do this often enough, eventually your dog will learn that they cannot be on the couch as well as what ‘off’ means (if you say it every time you get him off).
One word that you should teach your dog is the word ‘no’. Whenever you catch your dog misbehaving or doing something they shouldn’t be, say no in a stern but not violent voice. Make sure you remain serious or otherwise your dog will think you are playing with him. The dog will see that you aren’t being playful but serious and will realise that what they are doing is wrong and that you don’t want them to do that. Over time, if you repeat the word whenever they are doing the wrong thing, they will both learn the difference between wrong and right and that ‘no’ means no.
Dogs aren’t children, so they won’t understand if you come storming out of nowhere and starting yelling at them. Make sure you show them what they did wrong (if it’s a physical wrong doing like rummaging through a bin). When you are doing this, do not act hostile as the dog does not know what they have done wrong yet. Point at the mess and say no to them in the same stern voice. Under no circumstances can you inflict any physical or verbal abuse as that will drive your dog away from you, particularly if they misbehave a lot.
You can also teach your dog tricks.
Teaching a dog tricks is easy, but you have to know what you are doing. You need to be able to make your dog sit and learn and you have to know when to praise and when to not.
There are simple tricks that you can try such as sitting, shaking and lying down. Most owners have their dogs taught how to sit and shake hands almost as soon as they get them.
The most simple trick that you can teach your dog is to shake. Like almost every other trick, it takes practice to learn properly. Have your dog sit in front of you (you can do this by slightly pushing on you dog’s lower back and repeating the word ‘sit’.) Once your dog is sitting, show him/her the treat in your hand. The dog will most likely be excited and if he/she stands up again, urge them to sit down by again slightly pushing their lower back and repeating the word ‘sit’ until they are. Make sure you are looking at your dog affectionately, as they will be more encouraged to obey, and say ‘shake hands’ while lifting their paw to shake it. Make sure to keep looking at your dog affectionately as you do not want to intimidate them. Praise them by patting them and letting them have the treat. Do this a few times a day. After a while, see if when you ask them to shake hands, if they raise their paw without you.
You can use this trick when you feed your dog. Have them sit and shake your hands. You can also teach them to not eat their food until you give permission to. This command is called take. When you go to feed your dog, don’t put the food in front of them. Instead, get them to sit and shake hands, wait a few seconds before putting the food in front of them and immediately saying ‘take’. As the days pass, wait a little longer after placing down the food before saying the word. When you feel like your dog has become accustomed to this, put the food down before sitting and shaking. If your dog is obedient enough, they will wait for the word ‘take’ before starting to eat.
When your dog is obedient enough, you can start playing tricks on them (don’t so this for main meals, only when you are giving them a treat or some of your own food during the day) by saying words that sound like take. For example, lake, fake, make, sake… This will show you just how obedient your dog is.
You can teach your dog many new tricks if you are consistent with it. You can teach them cool things like rolling over, begging and bringing toys back. You can even try complicated things like speak (bark), say hi (waving) and standing on two legs.