A Basic Dog Training Guide for First Time Dog Owners

Basic Dog Training Guide

For new dog owners, dog training can seem like an insurmountable challenge. That is why it is always a good idea to hire an experienced dog trainer if you are not sure of what to do. But there are some basics you should be aware of whether you train the dog yourself or hire a professional to do it. Keep these 5 golden rules in mind.

Basic Dog Training

1. Start with a name

Start by choosing the right name for your pup. This is a really important step as it will set the tone for your relationship with the dog. Choose a name that is short, memorable and ends with a strong syllable. Some good examples include Max, Buddy, Ginger and Jake. The strong ending makes it easier for the dog to hear you when you call.

Find a name that evokes positive emotions. This is especially important if the dog is coming from an abusive situation. Once you have the name, all that remains is letting him know it is his. Use it often and he will be used to it in a few days.

2. Create a good and relaxing environment

For the training to be successful, your dog needs to feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Start by setting up a sleeping area. A nice and comfy dog bed in a warm spot should do. You can also set up another spot where he or she can relax on a mat during the day. Make sure he feels accepted by every member of the family.

Such a positive environment reinforces good behavior from the get go and will make the dog more receptive to training.

3. Positive reinforcement

A good dog owner knows that a dog does not respond very well to threats, shouting or any other negative aspect of training. Dogs learn best in a positive environment where positive reinforcement is the bedrock of the training.

Positive reinforcement is based on the practice if rewarding your dog when he does something good. A reward, whether in form of words, a gesture or a treat, makes it more likely that he will repeat a certain action.

From early on, get into the habit of positively reinforcing good behavior and ignoring bad behavior. Naturally, this results in more of the good habits and less of the bad ones.

4. Establish the alpha

Make sure the dog understands that you are the alpha, the leader. This is important in setting the nature of the relationship between you two and determines how successful the training will be. If the dog does not recognize you as the alpha, it will not come when called or respond to any other commands.

Start by calling the dog by its name and telling it to come. Go down to his level to encourage a positive response. Do this several times and remember to provide effusive praise to the dog each time. Later try it when the dog is deeply engaged in something. If he drops what he is doing and comes, this is a good thing and will come in really handy as the dog grows older and you explore new things and places together.

5. Teach the basic commands

There are five basic commands that you can teach your dog. They include;

Basic Dog Training Commands
  • Come – start with this essential one. It reinforces your position as alpha and can help keep your dog safe later on. Remember to get down to his level and use plenty of positive reinforcement.
  • Sit – One of the easiest commands for the dog to master. For this, use a treat held out near his nose to make him sit down. Repeat it every day until he masters it, remembering to reward him whenever he sits.
  • Down – this one is a bit complicated and should be done after he has already mastered the SIT command. Use a treat and lower it to the floor until the dog also lies down. Take away the treat and say 'No!’ when he stands up. Reward with the treat when he stays down.
  • Stay – this command is useful when you need the dog to remain in a certain place for a period. It can take some time to teach especially for high energy dogs.
  • Leave it – this is another important safety command for when the dog’s curiosity gets the better of him.


It is all about positive reinforcement. Focus on the good behavior, reward good habits and ignore any bad ones. With this recipe and some patience, basic training is easy.

Video: Why Train Your Dog?

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