Teach your dog the 5 commands below to help tackle behavior problems – existing ones or those that may develop in the future. 

All of these commands are easy to teach your pup. In fact, with the right attitude, it can be fun for both you and your dog!

Teach your dog the 5 commands listed below to help tackle behavior problems. These commands are so easy to teach your pup. In fact, with the right attitude, it can be fun for both you and your dog!

1. Sit

Cesar Millan sitting with his dog Daddy

This is one of the most natural dog obedience commands to teach, so it’s a good one to start with.

-Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.

-Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower.

-Once he’s in sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection.

Repeat this sequence a few times every day until your dog has it mastered. Then ask your dog to sit before mealtime, when leaving for walks, and during other situations where you’d like them calm and seated.

2. Come

Cesar Millan asking Dog Come to him on his farm

This command can help keep a dog out of some serious trouble! Like bringing them back to you if you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open.

-Put a leash and collar on your dog.

-Go down to his level and say “come,” while gently pulling on the leash.

-When he gets to you, reward him with affection and a treat.

Once they’ve mastered it with the leash, remove it — and practice the command in a safe, enclosed area.

3. Down

Dog sitting down begging and smiling

This can be one of the more difficult commands in dog obedience training. Why? Because the position is a submissive posture. You can help by keeping practice positive and relaxed; Particularly with fearful or anxious dogs.

-Find a particularly tasty smelling treat, and hold it in your closed fist.

-Hold your hand up to your dog’s snout. When your dog sniffs it, move your hand to the floor, so your pup follows.

-Then slide your hand along the ground in front of them to encourage their body to follow it’s head.

-Once they’re in the down position, say “Down,” give them the treat, and share affection.

Repeat it every day. If your dog tries to sit up or lunges toward your hand, say “No” and take your hand away. Don’t push them into a down position, and encourage every step your dog takes toward the right position. After all, they’re working hard to figure it out!

4. Stay

Cesar Millan tells dogs to stay

Before attempting this one, make sure your dog is an expert at the “Sit” command.

-First, ask your dog to “Sit.”

-Then open the palm of your hand in front of you, and say, “Stay.”

-Take a few steps back. Reward your pup with a treat and affection if they stay.

-Gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving the treat.

-Always reward your pup for staying put — even if it’s just for a few seconds.

This is an exercise in self-control for your dog, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to master, particularly for puppies and high-energy dogs. After all, they want to be on the move and not just sitting there waiting.

5. Leave It

dog learning to leave it's toy

This can help keep your dog safe when their curiosity gets the better of them, like if he or she smells something intriguing but possibly dangerous on the ground! The goal is to teach your pup that he gets something even better for ignoring the other item.

-Place a treat in both hands.

-Show them one enclosed fist with the treat inside, and say “leave it.”

-Let them lick, sniff, mouth, paw, and bark to try to get it — and ignore the behaviors.

-Once they stop trying, give them the treat from the other hand.

-Repeat until your dog moves away from that first fist when you say, “leave it.”

-Next, only give your dog the treat when they move away from that first fist and also looks up at you.

Once your dog consistently moves away from the first treat and gives you eye contact when you say the command, you’re ready to take it up a notch. For this, use two different treats — one that’s alright and one that’s a particularly good smelling and tasty favorite for your pup.

-Say “Leave it,” place the less attractive treat on the floor, and cover it with your hand.

-Wait until your dog ignores that treat and looks at you. Then remove that treat from the floor, give them better treats and share affection immediately.

-Once they’ve got it, place the less tasty treat on the floor… but don’t completely cover it with your hand. Instead, hold it a little bit above the treat. Over time, gradually move your hand farther and farther away until your hand is about 6 inches above.

-Now they’re ready to practice with you standing up! Follow the same steps, but if he or she tries to snatch the less tasty treat, cover it with your foot.

Don’t rush the process. Remember, you’re asking a lot of your dog. If you take it up a notch and they’re really struggling, go back to the previous stage.

Just these five simple commands can help keep your dog safer and improve your communication with them. It’s well worth the investment of your time and effort. Remember, the process takes time, so only start a dog obedience training session if you’re in the right mindset to practice calm-assertive energy and patience.

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