Bona-Fido Basic Pet Dog Training Commands & Behaviour

Back To Basics


Many owners are often confused by the differences between obedience training and behaviour training, so let’s make the distinction clear.


Obedience training is the foundation for controlling your pet. It strengthens the bond between you and your dog and essentially teaches you how to communicate in your dog’s language.


Behaviour training is breaking your pet of a bad habit, or creating a new positive behaviour. It attempts to address the underlying reasons for behavioural problems - the vast majority of which are the result of inappropriate communication.


The Importance Of Training Your Dog


Training is one of the most important aspects of owning and caring for your dog, because it establishes a line of communication between you and your pet. In addition it can help to prevent behavioral problems, and a dog that is well behaved, responds to commands and knows exactly what is expected in different situations is a pleasure to live with.


Resistance To Training


Unfortunately, some owners resist the idea of formal training because they consider their dogs to be part of the family, but training is not about subduing your dogs’ personality, nor about teaching them to do tricks for amusement - it’s all about communication. It’s about making the bond between you and your dog stronger, it’s about teaching your dog the basic rules to make them a safer pet as well as a pleasant companion.


A dog without boundaries will push the limits over and over again and may end up in a bad situation. Dogs that have not been taught how to behave are often unpleasant to be around, simply because they don’t know how to act in various social situations.


They may display negative behaviour like running out of the door, jumping-up at visitors, destroying your belongings or chewing furniture. Some dogs will bark excessively, dig holes and may even become aggressive with other dogs or worse still, knock over or even bite a child.


With a larger dog, another important goal of training is to keep other people and animals safe. A dog that is well trained is not going to bolt after a cat or a child riding by on a bicycle. All too often, this type of action can have tragic consequences for your pet, even if they never intended to bite what they chased.


Basic Training


Basic obedience training is critical when it comes to nurturing a healthy relationship with your pet and for creating a socially compatible dog. In a practical sense, obedience-trained dogs have easier lives and are easier to live with than their untrained peers. If dogs desist from jumping on strangers, sit or lie quietly when asked to do so, and walk nicely on their lead without pulling, they're bound to be included in more activities with their owners and will spend less time at home alone. 


Obedience training is an education in good manners and almost literally opens many doors. It doesn’t solve behaviour problems, but it’s the foundation for solving just about any problem and is one of the best things you can do for your dog... and for yourself.


The Basic Commands


There are five basic dog training commands that every dog should know. These commands can help you to manage a variety of common behavior problems, and in some cases may even save your dog's life.


1. Sit


The “sit” command is usually the first command that people teach their dog. It might seem basic, but it can play a very important role in managing unwanted behaviours. For instance, a dog can't sit and jump-up at the same time. By training your dog to sit, you've begun the work needed to prevent them from jumping-up. Sitting is a natural action and as you enforce the “sit” command, your dog will learn that it’s time to pay attention and calm down.


2. Stay


There are some commands that can literally save your dog's life and the “stay” command is one of them. Useful in a number of situations, it can keep your dog out from under your feet, or it can save their life by preventing them from running into a dangerous situation.


3. Down


Down is another of the commands that can possibly save your dog's life. Usually combined with “stay”, it is meant to be a stronger command. “Down” actually stops whatever action was happening before the command, so it’s useful in controlling behaviour. Just like the sit command, “down” is incompatible with certain unwanted behaviours. A dog can't jump up whilst lying down. By teaching your dog to lie down on command, you have a tool to manage a number of common behavioural problems.


4. Come


The "come" command is also known as the "recall"


The recall ensures that your dog will come running whenever you call, in any and every situation. Used in emergency situations, like when your dog is about to run in front of a moving car, it can literally save their life.


5. Heel (or walking nicely on the lead without pulling)


Heel is often the most complicated command to teach, but most dogs will learn quickly if you’re consistent. Your dogs’ natural instinct is to sniff, walk, run and veer off in many directions. You need to show them that there’s a time for exploring and a time not to. Teaching your canine companion to heel will save your back, your shoulders and your dog's neck. It will also ensure that you both maintain your dignity. Teaching your dog to walk-to-heel makes walking your dog much more fun, and makes it more likely you'll get your dog out for the exercise and socialisation they need.


In Summary


A well-trained dog is more confident and can more safely be allowed a greater amount of freedom than an untrained dog, but dog training is not easy – it takes patience and time. You must be consistent with your commands so that your dog will learn faster and more effectively. Obedience training should be fun and rewarding for you and your dog and it can enrich your relationship and make living together more enjoyable.


When training is positive and fun, both you and your dog can enjoy the process as well as the results. Help your dog be a good canine citizen by applying proper training throughout their entire life. You’ll both be happier and safer as a result.