Teaching your dog a new command is a great way to build communication with them and will strengthen your bond.
Dogs are awesome! Teaching your dog a new command or trick is a great way to build communication with them and will make your bond that much more special.
The first tip for all dog people to keep in mind while training is to have high value rewards at the ready, like in a fanny pack or your pocket, so they’ll be easy to grab.
Also keep in mind that your dog’s breakfast time and dinner time are great opportunities to work on tricks and commands together. You can start with your dog’s food as the reward, especially if it’s Sundays Food For Dogs which is super easy to hand feed. Once their meal is done you can use high value treats as the reward. Just remember to make training sessions short, sweet, and sprinkled throughout the day. That way you and your dog can have breaks in between.
5 Simple Training Commands for Dogs
Here are five simple commands that are easy for anyone in the family to teach–even the kids!
“Look” aka Eye Contact
- Put a treat in between your thumb and pointer finger.
- Close your hand around the treat but stick your pinky finger out. *this will help make sure that our dog is looking at our EYES and not just the treat*
- Then bring your pinky down to your dog’s nose and back up to your nose.
- As you bring your pinky up to your nose say the word “Look”.
Mark with YES and a reward
“Come” aka Recall
- Place some toys or empty Sunday Food For Dogs boxes around the room before you bring your dog in.
- Once your pup enters the room, let go of the leash so it's dragging on the floor and wait until your dog is distracted by sniffing the floor or looking at one of distractions. *Try to be calm and let your dog get distracted before you call them*
- Say their name and when you see their head lift or respond in any way we can move to Step 4. However if they ignore their name entirely, be sure to follow up by making happy sounds to grab your dog’s attention.
- Once your dog responds in any way simultaneously say your command word and use your visual cue/hand signal. *My hand signal is a shaking fist like your rolling dice for a board game* And my command word is “Come”. Remember to keep shaking your fist until your dog has reached you then you can reward.
- Grab your dog’s bed or a blanket/towel to use as their place. (An elevated surface is preferred for a dog just learning this for the first time.)
- Stand with your dog away from the place and get their attention with their name, say “Come”, and use the shaky fist to bring your dog to the surface as you walk towards it together.
- Continue using that hand signal to guide your dog to get all four paws on the surface and when all four paws are on the bed say the command word “Place” and you reward with a treat.
- Before your dog can get off the surface, ask for a “Look”, then you can give freedom with a freedom word like “Release” or “Break”.
- Start by placing a treat in between the middle finger and ring finger, make sure to hold it tight so it can’t fall out.
- Then lower your hand so it’s at eye level with your dog and let your pup come to you and touch their nose to your hand. As they are booping your hand say “Touch” and let go of the treat to reward your dog.
- Repeat this a few times with the treat in the same hand you are having your dog touch.
- To expand you can hold the treat in the other hand, for example do the Touch with your right hand then treat with the left hand once your pup has completed the action.
- Start with your dog facing you, either in a sit or standing is ok, and have a treat in your right hand.
- Bend down low so your pup can see your hand and start shaking your hand to get your dog’s attention. Make a clockwise circle with your right hand, going away from your body then back in.
- As you step your right foot back, shake your fist away from your body then back towards your body as you step forward. The shakey fist will act as a guide for your dog to make a full circle.
- When your dog has made a full circle you can say the word “Spin” and they can be rewarded.