Dog Training Tips

Welcome to ‘Dog Training Tips’! If you are thinking about getting a dog or maybe you’ve already got your first dog and would like to know the basic principles for dog obedience training, then this site is for you. Here you’ll find all the training tips you need to make your dog a happy, obedient dog that can live in harmony in your home with your family.

Obedience training is probably the most important thing you can do for your dog and yourself. Dogs are of course animals, and without proper obedience training, they will behave like animals! This may sound obious, but a lot of new dog owners do not realize the havoc an untrained dog can cause. They will destroy your furniture and any other belongings they can get hold off, bark excessively, dig holes in your lawn or favourite flower bed, fight with other dogs, maybe growl at you or even bite you and without the correct house training will make a mess in your house.

Obedience training can prevent these problems and can also help to improve any bad habits that your new dog may already have. Did you know that the alpha dog or pack leader is seen by your dog as the leader and protector of the whole pack, and it is therefore crucial that you take on this role to ensure the mental well-being of your dog? Obedience training is the ideal way to establish the social hierarchy in your household. Dogs are pack animals and in the wild a pack of dogs will have a distinct hierarchy. For a dog to respect and obey your commands, your dog must understand that you are the ‘pack leader’. When your dog obeys a command such as ‘sit’ or ‘down’ he is showing respect for your position as the leader of his pack. To fully understand this concept, read my article about dog psychology.

I’m sure you are aware of the importance of socializing a puppy, but what exactly does ‘socializing’ mean, and how do you put it into practice? Well,here you’ll find a full explanation of exactly what puppy socialization is and how to do it successfully.

Training your dog could also save its life or save it from being injured. A well-trained dog allows the owner the necessary control to prevent potential accidents. For example, should your dog get free of his lead at a busy road, you an use the sit command to control him while you reattach it or you can get him to walk to heel to a safer place if perhaps his lead or collar is broken. Maybe your front gate has been left ajar and you see your dog walking up the road. If he is well trained, a down command would stop him going further or the come command would bring him safely back to you.

The Sit Command is the first training exercise you should teach your dog and is a great way to control him and build his confidence.

After the sit command, the second most useful command your dog can learn is the Down Command. It displays a higher level of respect and can also be used to calm a scared dog.

The stay command should be taught only after your dog is responding well to the basic sit and down commands. Probably one of the more challenging training sessions will be teaching to your dog to walk correctly on the leash. Leash training is a very important skill for your dog to master and will make exercising your dog a much more pleasurable and safer pursuit.

Dog grooming is another routine that should be incorporated into your dog training sessions and is a great way to bond with your new friend, as well as enforcing your position as the pack leader. It also removes dead hair and dirt from his coat and makes the fur shiny and healthy. The act of grooming is also a wonderful way of giving him affection and attention while caring for him at the same time.

Training your dog should be a fun and rewarding activity for you and your dog. It will enrich your relationship and make living together more enjoyable and fulfilling experience. A well-trained dog is a confident dog and can be allowed more freedom than a poorly trained dog.

Training can be easily accomplished at home. All you require is patience, a collar, a lead, an understanding of dog behavior and of course a dog! Training should also be fun for you and your new friend. Each training session should include games and praise. Your dog should look forward to each session. Probably the most important aspect of training is rewarding your dog when he performs a command correctly. The more times he performs a command correctly and he is rewarded, the quicker he will learn. It’s also just as important that you praise your dog for good behavior. We always notice when he’s being naughty, but often don’t notice when he’s lying quietly or not barking excessively at the window! Praising and rewarding good behavior are the most important aspects of successful dog training.

Dog Psychology

Dogs are not people. It may seem like a simple statement, and evident fact, but so many people make the grave error of expecting their dog to act and think like a person. They attribute human traits and emotions to their pets and thereby damage their relationship, sending inconsistent signals and stressing their dog. To understand your dog, and to for your dog obedience training sessions to be effective, you must understand dog psychology. It is important to remember that the dog is simply an animal. Yes, even your little pet, laying on the sofa having his tummy tickled! He’s an animal too, and he must be treated as one to give him a healthy, satisfying life. Small dogs are especially prone to being treated as children and this can lead to a variety of problems, not to mention confusion and misery for your dog. So, as an example, let’s look at love between ourselves and our dogs. Most of us love our dogs and can feel that love when we see them or think of them. Does the dog feel the same way? We have to assume that he doesn’t. He loves us, but his experience of love is a different thing. He relies on us for his health and survival. He looks to us (if we are successful in training) as a leader of his pack and he trusts us in our decisions. He is happy to be in your company because he is naturally a pack animal – his attachment to you is almost certainly very deep. But he doesn’t have the psychology of a human being when it comes to love. He doesn’t have the same concept of ethics and morality and he certainly doesn’t know anything other than his animal instincts are telling him. If a friend of yours comes to your home and your dog takes a dislike, he’s not going to “be nice” to the friend because he loves you! Conversely, he doesn’t misbehave or sulk to get attention or to get revenge for something you did. These are human emotions and motives that we attribute to our dogs almost continually.We should also look at the concept of praise and correction in training. On the whole, I advocate rewarding good behaviour and ignoring or preventing misbehaviour. I do not in general believe in punishing a dog for bad behaviour, but sometimes a sudden shout can be a good reminder to a dog that is doing something he knows he shouldn’t. It is important to remember that you can only praise or give correction to your dog WHILE he is exhibiting the behaviour in question. He is not a person and will not know nor remember what he was doing five minutes ago. This is a major difference between people and dogs and if remembered, will make training a much easier task.

So the key to this is “think like a dog”. Imagine you are an animal, a part of a pack, just like him. Don’t ever think of him as a human, still less a child or a baby, whatever his size and however cute he may be. You have to make this concept a cornerstone of your relationship with your dog and he will certainly benefit from it. He is a dog, an animal, and only by truly understanding this will you be able to satisfy his needs and form a meaningful, fulfilling relationship for both of you.

Site Map

Puppy Mouth Training

Dog Separation Anxiety

Adopting A Rescue Dog

Dog Forum

Buying A Puppy

Choosing A Puppy

Choosing A Dog Leash

Choosing A Training Collar

Choosing A Dog Bed

Clipping Your Dogs Claws

Why Use A Hepa Filter?

Coping With A Dog Allergy

Stopping Your Dog Jumping Up

Puppy Socialization

Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Cleaning Your Dog’s Eyes

The Come Command

House Training

Dog Obedience Training

Alpha Dog

Dog Psychology

Teaching The ‘Sit’ Command

Teaching The ‘Down’ Command

Teaching The ‘Stay’ Command

Leash Training Your Dog

Dog Grooming

Dog Quotes

Dog Jokes

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Teaching The Stay Command

The stay command is something that should be added after the basic sit and down commands and nice and solid. Your dog should also by now know it’s name and respond to it when called. The stay command is another that is so useful for keeping your dog safe, stopping him from approaching something he shouldn’t like a busy road instance. Use the dog’s lead, attached to his collar, then tell your dog to sit. Praise him and give him a little treat, then hold your hand out, palm facing your dog, and walk backwards one step, saying “stay” in a firm calm voice. If your dog stays where he is then praise him and give him a treat. If he moves, then simply ignore this behavior and start again, taking him back to his starting place and telling him to sit.

Once he has successfully stayed when you take one step back, you can gradually increase this to two three and four steps. Take it slowly and be patient – it can be very confusing for your dog is you hurry things or get frustrated with him. Repetition is the key to success, but make training sessions short and always make sure your dog is happy and having fun. He’ll learn much more quickly that way!

Soon you’ll be able to dispense with the lead, and take ten or twenty steps away from him. You will need to decide on a release command that you use each time to tell the dog he can move. The stay command can be used in many ways – try walking around your dog, or just walking a short distance away, sitting down and making him wait for one, two three then four minutes. Remember to lavishly praise your dog when you release him from the stay command.

Once your dog has successfully learned the sit, down and stay commands, it’s time to start leash training.

Choosing A Puppy

Deciding to get a puppy is a big decision and not one to be rushed into. Never buy a puppy on impulse and always do plenty of research about the type of dog that will suit you, your family and your home. It is a good idea to talk to dog owners about their breed of dog, borrow books from the library and read information on the Internet about the different breeds of dog that might interest you. Remember that a puppy will grow into an adult dog with a temperament, personality and needs all of its own. You will need to think about who is going to walk the dog, are your house and garden big enough for the breed you have in mind, who will care for the dog when you go on holiday, who can walk it if you are ill or unavoidably detained away from home. These are very important questions to think about before getting a puppy – a dog is a big responsibility for many years and you must take this seriously. Also consider the cost of caring for a dog. Food, beds, training classes, puppy crates, chews, toys and other equipment cost a considerable amount of money and vaccinations and vet’s bills are expensive, even if your dog remains in good health. Do you have the means to pay for treatment for illnesses and injuries? Sometimes dogs, like people, will have illnesses that require expensive medicine, sometimes this will be required every day for the rest of their lives. Are you willing and able to take on this responsibility? Getting a puppy should be fun, but it must also be very carefully considered to ensure that you and your dog are prepared for the future.

So, having considered all of the above, you must look at your lifestyle and see what dog suits you and your family. Do you have the time and enjoy long walks every day? If not, don’t consider an energetic breed such as a Dalmatian, Border Collie or a Doberman. Every dog needs walking but certain breeds go cranky without a very large amount of exercise. Are you looking for a dog to go running with you? Then don’t choose a small breed that cannot tolerate too much exercise. Do you have children? Are you planning or likely to have children in the future? Remember, dogs live for many years and you need to plan for their happiness and security in the future. It’s not fair to get a dog then give him away if your circumstances change. So, if children are a part of your life, or likely to be in the next ten or more years, you must get a breed that is known to get along with children easily, such as a Labrador. But bear in mind that dogs and children still need supervising while playing together to ensure safety.

Another consideration is that of allergies. Many people have allergies these days and many more develop them each day. There is not such thing as a hypo-allergenic breed of dogs, no matter what you may read. Make sure that you and your family are not susceptible to dog allergy by spending time with a friend’s dog. Perhaps you could have a dog to stay with you for a week or so, during a friend’s holiday, and monitor how everyone reacts. If sneezing, wheezing and itchy skin reactions are evident, it is better not to get a dog. These allergies do not disappear and will more likely become serious health issues over time. Dogs need to live in the house with its family – never consider getting a dog and making it live outside due to allergy problems. Dogs are social animals and need affection and contact from their family.

Remember that having a puppy in the house generally means more housework. They shed fur, they crunch up biscuits on the carpet, they come into the house with mud on their paws and coat and are sometimes destructive with furniture, shoes, books and other items in the house. Are you able to cope with this? If you enjoy a fastidiously clean house, then maybe you wouldn’t make a good dog owner. Certain breeds shed less fur than others so that’s worth considering when deciding which breed, if any, would suit you.

In all, the key here is to give yourself a lot of time to consider if a dog is really for you, and if so, which breed would truly suit your lifestyle and family circumstances, both now and in the foreseeable future. A dog can truly be a joy in your life, but only if you’re prepared for the reality of taking on such a responsibility.

Clipping Your Dog's Claws

(These notes are for guidance only. Please ensure that you seek veterinary advice to avoid hurting or injuring your dog during claw-clipping.)

Although most dogs do not enjoy having their claws clipped, it is sometimes necessary as allowing them to grow too long can cause other health problems in the paws and even further up in the legs. It is best to start with a regular clipping routine whilst a dog is young so they become accustomed to it and aren’t scared or nervous. If a dog is confident and happy, they may well sit on your lap or quietly on a table while you clip their claws. Other dogs may need to be carefully restrained to prevent sudden movements during the clipping session. You may need to ask someone to help you by holding your dog while you clip their claws.

Firstly, make sure you have the right tool for the job. Buy some high-quality dog claw clippers and keep them sharp and in good repair. There are two types available, a guillotine type and a scissor type. Many dog owners agree that the guillotine type is easier to use. The scissor type is more often used for curling claws such as the dew claw, to clip it and stop it from ingrowing, although the claw can usually be gently pulled away from the skin to allow the guillotine clippers to be slid over the claw for cutting purposes. The cutting blade on guillotine cutters should be replaced immediately when they begin to lose their sharpness.

Dark-colored or multi-colored claws should be cut carefully to avoid cutting into the “quick”, the live area of the claw that contains the blood vessels and nerves. Cut the claw in several tiny pieces – as you cut, look carefully at the cross-section of the claw. When you see a grey-pink oval begin to appear at the top of the cut surface, you should stop cutting as you are approaching the quick.

In paler claws, the quick can be seen through the claw so it obvious where to cut. Never cut closer than 2mm of the quick as this may hurt your dog or make the claw bleed. If in doubt, ask your vet for advice or assistance.

Dog Grooming Tips

The importance of a good grooming routine for your dog cannot be overemphasized. It helps remove dead hair and dirt, spreading the natural oils from the skin through the coat to moisturize it and make the fur shiny and healthy. The act of grooming is also a wonderful way to bond with your dog, giving him affection and attention while caring for him at the same time. Perhaps more importantly, grooming reinforces your position as the alpha dog

which is vital to ensure the happiness and mental well-being of your dog.

It is important to get your dog used to being groomed from a young age. Certain breeds with long fur and who shed a lot, should be groomed most days. This prevents mats and tangles that could otherwise be very difficult to deal with. Grooming is good for you dog and good for you too, as there will be less fur on your carpets in the house! Breeds that need frequent grooming to prevent tangles and keep their coats healthy include the Cocker Spaniel, Afghan Hound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Samoyed, long-coated St. Bernard, Maltese, English Toy Spaniel, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier, Silky Terrier, Australian Terrier, Bichon Frisé, Chow Chow, Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier, Finnish Spitz, American Eskimo, Bearded Collie, Old English Sheepdog, Collie, Briard, and Shetland Sheepdog.

Make sure you buy good quality brushes and combs, specially designed for your dog’s length and texture of coat. Keep the brushes and combs clean and in good condition and replace immediately if there is any sign of wear or damage.

Cleaning Your Dog's Teeth

Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from tooth decay and tartar build-up leading to gum disease. The best way to prevent this is to feed your dog only foods that will not damage his teeth. Avoid all sugary foods and give him plenty of dog biscuits and chews that are especially designed to clean the teeth and remove plaque. Check his teeth regularly for early signs of problems and make sure your dog gets used to you opening his mouth and is comfortable with you gently inspecting and touching his teeth. If you feel that your dog needs extra help, or your vet has advised cleaning his teeth, then make sure you use a brush (or similar recommended item) and toothpaste especially designed for dogs. Human toothpaste is not recommended for dogs as dogs cannot spit it out – it is not edible and could damage your dog’s health. You will find there is a variety of flavors of dog toothpaste, so start by finding one he enjoys. So, when you and your dog are ready to begin, get into a position where you can restrain your dog (or get someone to help) and access your dog’s teeth comfortably. Carefully lift your dog’s upper lip and begin to brush in a circular motion, in a similar way as you would brush your own teeth. Be sure to brush where the tooth meets the gum-line. Don’t forget to get the very back teeth, since this is where your dog is most likely to develop problems. When you are finished the top, move on to the bottom in the same fashion.

Remember to praise your dog and give him a teeth-healthy doggy treat when you’re done so he’ll look forward to his next teeth-cleaning session.

Buying a Puppy

Before buying a puppy, read my article about choosing and buying a puppy. This will help you focus on what kind of dog suits you, your family and your circumstances, both present and future. You need to think about the different breeds of dog, but you might also decide that an adult dog would be better for you and your family than a puppy.

If you do decide to buy a puppy and you have researched the breed you are interested in, here is some basic advice to help you avoid mistakes.

The first rule is never buy from a pet shop, always buy direct from a reputable breeder. Contact several breeders and talk to them about the breed in general and about their breeding practices and policies. Visit them and ask them about genetic problems that the breed is prone to and how they avoid them in their puppies. A reputable breeder will have a policy of screening their parent dogs for hereditary diseases, thus giving their puppies the best possible prospects of a long, healthy life. This is also the time to ensure that the breeder holds all relevant legal paperwork.

Choose a breeder that inspires you with confidence and really cares about the dogs and puppies. Discuss the price and make sure that it is within your budget, bearing in mind all the other costs of having a new dog. Also keep in mind that a breeder that charges more may well be better, as they spend more on their dogs, puppies, vets fees etc.

When choosing a puppy, make sure you see the litter with their dame, preferably see both parent dogs. Look at the puppies carefully for signs of ill-health. Puppies sleep a lot but once awake, they should be active, alert and energetic. Inspect the general environment that the dogs are in – is it clean and comfortable? Do the dogs have everything they need – fresh water, clean bedding, a dry, clean room at a comfortable temperature? Do the dogs and puppies respond well and in a friendly manner to the breeder?

Look for signs of diarrhea, vomitting, bloated stomach (a sign of worms), discharge from eyes and nose (a sign of a bacterial or viral infection) and never buy a puppy with any signs of ill-health. Leaving the litter and dame and going in to a new environment is stressful on a puppy in the best of health, but an ill puppy will quickly deteriorate. It is the breeder’s responsibility to care for the puppies and get them into good health before they can go to a new home.

You should receive a written health guarantee from the breeder that allows you to return the puppy within 72 hours for a full refund if any disease is found by you or your vet within that period. This sounds heartless to some people – how can you return a poor sick little puppy? – but the point is to put the onus of repsonsibility onto the breeder to care for the dogs and puppies in his charge and provide healthy puppies to new owners.

Once you see a puppy that you are interested in, ask to see it away from the litter and the dame. You need to get an idea of how this puppy will respond to you one-to-one once you get it home. If you decide it’s the puppy for you, go ahead with the purchase but make sure that all the paperwork is in order. A good breeder should be happy for you to phone them to ask questions and advice after you get the puppy home.

You should already have prepared your home for your new dog. A comfortable bed, food and water bowls, collar and leash and some safe chew toys should be ready for your new companion, plus a dog crate if you have decided to use one. It is usually advisable to keep the puppy on the same food as the breeder was feeding him, at least to start with. This can gradually be changed over the following week if you prefer a different brand, by blending the existing food with the new one. Sudden changes could upset the puppies tummy, so take your time with this.

Read my other articles for help with house training and generally caring for you new dog.

Puppy Mouth Training

This is a short guide to training your puppy to stop chewing your furniture and to play-bite appropriately. This will give your puppy a good grounding in canine manners which will help prevent him becoming an adult dog that bites or a dog that is destructive in the house when left alone.

Bite Inhibition

The first thing to teach your puppy is bite inhibition. This is the process where you show your puppy that it is advantageous for him to play-bite or mouth softly. Puppies have weak jaws and exceptionally sharp teeth and they always use biting and mouthing as a way of playing with each other, with adult dogs and with humans. If a litter of puppies are playing together, there will be a loud yelp and a halt to the play if one of the puppies bites too hard. Once the puppy is away from his littermates, you must continue this instruction so he learns what is correct behavior. The way to do this is to play with him every day for a minimum of four weeks (little and often is always best in puppy training), allowing him to play-bite until he nips too hard. You must say “ouch” straight away, loudly enough to stop and startle the puppy, then turn away and stop playing for a couple of minutes. Resume play, only stopping when he nips to hard again and repeat the procedure. He will soon learn what he needs to do to keep the game going. When you want to stop playing, even when he is being gentle, praise him and give him a little treat so he knows that he has been good and is not being punished. As your puppy matures you will need to make the rules of the more strict. After four weeks of the above method, switch to say “ouch” every time his teeth make contact with your skin. Ignore him for several minutes, then start again, thus encouraging him to have a “soft mouth” when playing.


Chewing is a common problem with dogs that are left alone in the house or car, and a lot of damage can be done in just a few short minutes. Training your puppy or dog to chew on appropriate objects is very often a successful way of avoiding a lot of damage of treasured items around the home. You must also train yourself and your family to put away precious items and not leave things out in accessible places. This will help your dog to learn that there is usually nothing of interest on the table or the kitchen counters and he will learn not to look or search there. You can only scold your dog for chewing something if you catch him in the act. If you arrive home to find some damage, scolding him will only increase his anxiety next time you are out and he anticipates your angry return. He will not be able to make a link between his previous behavior (which has already forgotten) and your scolding. If you do catch him chewing something he shouldn’t, shout “off” and give him an appropriate toy or chew. Provide him with plenty of these and praise him whenever he chews them. Do not give him old shoes to play with as he cannot distinguish which is old and which is new and precious. A rubber kong is great, especially when stuffed with kibble or some other tasty treats, and raw hide chews from the pet shop are also ideal. Be sure to inspect the chews and toys regularly and make sure there are no small pieces that your dog could choke on.

You may also wish to protect your furniture with a special bitter-tasting spray from the pet shop which discourages chewing. Until he truly understands chewing rules, never leave him alone with access to inappropriate chewables.

If chewing and destructive behavior continue to be a problem, you may find it helpful to read my article on separation anxiety as this often plays a role in these types of issues.

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