What You Need to Know Before Starting to Train Your Dog

I am trying to teach my dog commands and to be a good dog, but nothing seems to be working.  He isn’t staying when I tell him to stay and it will be a cold day in “you know where” when he would ever come to me when I ask.  I am just totally at a standstill!  What is going wrong?

As dog trainers, we have heard this complaint from dog owners time and time again.  It is normally an issue with first time dog owners.  Before you can even get to the point of training your dog, you need to understand a few, basic concepts.
  • Dogs need consistency.  They do not understand complicated or logical situations.  Every time they hear a specific sound (like SIT), they will put their rear on the ground.  They know they can never jump on people.  When things begin to get complicated, like you allow them to jump on you but not your guests, they have no idea how to respond.  So make sure that when you give them commands or expect specific behavior, the result will always be the same. 
  • You must understand what your dog has the ability to currently learn.  Another way of expressing this is that you need to know your dog’s current skill set.  If you can’t get your dog to consistently sit, you will never get him to stay.  If you are calling your dog to come to you from across the yard and he doesn’t, yelling at him over and over again isn’t going to do any good.  He just doesn’t understand what you want.  With this said, you need to figure out what your dog can do and start there with your teaching program.  Just like a tennis player, you learn and improve by playing with someone just a little better than you. 
  • You must be in control when you are teaching your dog.  Remember, you are the teacher and need the focus and respect from your dog in order to teach.  If you give your dog a SIT command and he runs out the door, that really isn’t a good “teaching moment”.  The best way to make sure that you have control is to have your dog leashed when you are training him.  If you tell him to SIT, he can’t run away and you can use the leash as a tool to help and guide him into the SIT.  If you tell your dog to COME and he doesn’t, you can give the leash a little tug to direct him towards you.

These are just three little concepts that you need to keep in mind when teaching your dog.  I know that they sound simple, but dogs crave the simple.  What you have done is to create an environment where they are prepared to learn.  If you ever have any questions, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.


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