What is Your Most Critical Dog Training Command?

If you were to pick one single dog training command that helps you the most with your dog, what is it and why? Be sure to let me know below after you read this – okay?

Here’s what got me to thinking about this.

I recently read an article written by Pat Miller, a very well-known and published dog trainer on this very subject in The Whole Dog Journal. So I thought it would be a great article for you to read and fun to share what our most important command is with each other. Now rest assured, there’s really not a wrong answer because it’s all about what command is most important for you and your dog. I’ll go first and give you my most important command and why I think it is the most important then you give me yours. My favorite and most important dog training command is the sit command. teach the sit command Now, I know what you’re thinking. You are probably thinking to yourself, “The sit command? Come on Burwell, you can do better than that! Heck My 10 year old kid can teach our dog to sit and in fact, did! That’s way too easy!” Before you blow off reading the rest of this article, listen to what you just said:  Your 10 year old kid can teach your dog to sit and in fact, did. That’s way too easy.

The main reason I like the sit command

That’s the main reason I like it. It is probably the easiest command to teach to a dog. In fact, it’s so easy most parents get their children involved in teaching their dog to sit.

The second reason I like the sit command

You can use the sit command to solve many of your dog problems. If you think about it, a simple, well-disciplined sit, if worked around distractions, can fix jumping, running out the front door, even aggression around dogs and much more. But you have to practice. Jumping, running out the door or gate and even reacting to other dogs on walks won’t work IF your dog has been taught to sit around those distractions until released. It’s impossible to do two different behaviors at the same time. When your dog is given a sit command and “he complies” around all distractions, it really opens the doors to take him more places. You’ll be surprised the compliments he will get! That should bring a smile to your face! And a simple sit command does it. But, the biggest problem with the sit command (as is with all other commands) is that once your dog is taught the sit command you don’t do any follow-through to proof the sit command. You probably think that once you teach the sit command to your dog, you’re done. In other words, even though you have taught your dog to sit, simply teaching that command does not include doing any significant distraction work. Past attending the puppy class at PetSmart, you’ve probably not worked your dog on sit around distractions. Your puppy needs exposure to family and friends that visit on a regular basis to your home because even though you’ve taught sit to your dog he still jumps on visitors and family members and runs out the front door when you say, “Sit!”

Talk about frustrating!

Sit is a very simple command. Sit simply means sit no matter where your dog is or what he is doing. It is not a complex string of commands. As with any command, you must practice with your dog around distractions requiring a sit. This is where the real work begins and ends. Here are some tips that I use all the time working on control commands like “sit.” You might find these helpful as you begin working your dog on the sit command with renewed interest: 1. When training your dog on obedience commands, always work your dog on a leash or line so you will be able to control the training environment and your dog. As your dog becomes more reliable, you can move to off leash training. 2. Remember the 3D formula for distraction training: Duration, Distractions and then Distance. You build up your dog’s time in a sit first (set a goal of 5 minutes to work up to on his sit/stay) then add distractions before you add distance from the dog.

Additionally, remember to:

1. Expose your dog to different levels and kinds of distractions: kids and adults doing different things around the house; distractions at the beach or the park if you frequent those places. 2. Change the locations in which you obedience train your dog. If your dog can do 5 sit- stays 5 times in a row in 5 different locations, there’s a good chance he’s got it. 3. When working your dog on the sit, move around your dog and command your dog to “sit” when on different sides as well as behind your dog. 4. Other things to vary would be tone of voice and handlers (different family members giving your dog the sit command.) While all of this sounds like a lot of work, it could be. It just depends on your tolerance to live with an unwanted behavior or behaviors OR willingness to fix your dog problem with a simple sit. Which one do you want to do? A simple sit is probably the straightest distance between “your problem and your solution.” While a simple sit can solve many problems your personal success will always begin and end with 100% owner compliance. In other words, dedication, consistency and repetition are the key. Now I would like you to share what your most important obedience command is. Just reply below in the comment box!

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog. His Ground Rules for Great Dogs  is your must have easy, step-by-step process to helping your dog. Your dog must and wants to understand what you expect of him. But you have to empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you must empower him to be successful at living in a human home. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now. Be sure to come visit me on these sites also: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jimburwell.dogtrainer Twitter: http://twitter.com/PetiquetteDog