The Basics of Dog Training

June 5, 2023
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the basics of dog training

This article will focus on why you need to have basic training as a minimum for your dog, what those basics are and how to get started.

It is also important to remember that different breeds respond differently to training and there is no, one-size-fits-all, type of training. But we will get into the specifics in our future blogs.

However, certain dog training basics can be used across the spectrum and understanding the basics is a good place to start.


Training your dog is not taking away its personality or forcing it to conform, it is making your dog feel safer and happier.

Dogs are pack animals, and as such, they need to know and understand their place in the pecking order. Your dog needs to know that you are the alpha, you are the top dog. Why is this important? Simply so that your dog can relax, feel safe, listen to you and behave well.

If your dog knows that you are in control and that you have got it covered, then it can get on with the business of being a dog and not spend every waking moment on high alert looking for danger. This will mean that your dog is peaceful in the home and not attacking every visitor that comes through your front door.

While you may want your dog to protect you from danger, you don’t want them to protect you from having a cuddle with your partner on the sofa. This is why knowing they don’t have to be ‘in charge’ leads to a more successful relationship between you and your dog.

Teaching your dog to listen to your commands and respond accordingly gives the dog a sense of purpose and provides it with the knowledge that you have got it covered. Your dog wants to please you and make your life better, give it that opportunity by training him/her and allowing your dog to feel secure and happy.


So what are the basic things that you should be teaching your dog? Don’t be surprised to learn that we won’t be covering how to shake a paw or sing, these are tricks, not essential training.

What you do need to teach your dog are basic manners. The dog needs to know that when you ask it to do something, you expect it to respond immediately. This requires firm but fun training. Remember that when you are starting with dog training, your dog needs to enjoy spending time with you learning how to behave.

If your dog is scared or unsure, you will only foster aggression in the animal. So always approach training from a relaxed state of mind and have fun with the dog so that they learn that doing what you want them to do is a good thing. Make sure that you keep training sessions short too. You don’t want your dog to get bored and tired.

The basic commands to start with should always be ones that are focussing the dog on you. The reason for this is so that you can keep their attention and avoid problems further down the line. The basic commands to start with are Sit, Down and Stay. Get your dog used to their name and praise when they respond, this will help with calling them to you later on. We will cover techniques for these later on.
Learning to walk nicely on the lead is another essential. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog needs to be perfect to heel, that may not be what you want or what works for your dog. But just having them not pulling and jumping all over the place is a good place to start.


We strongly recommend that when starting a new training program you seek the help of a professional. Taking training classes can have multiple benefits. You will be shown the techniques needed to train your dog and allowed to practise in a controlled and safe environment.

Training classes also help to socialise your dog with others, reducing the risk of aggression around other dogs. Plus by training in this atmosphere, your dog is getting used to listening to you and focusing on you no matter what is going on around them, which is ultimately the goal that you want to achieve.
Having said that, there is a lot you can do at home yourself and you should never just ‘stop’ training. It is an ongoing process that requires consistency and dedication. We shall discuss this more in future blog posts.


Here are 3 quick techniques for the basics to get you started…

  • Sit – a simple one-word command accompanied by a hand signal. Later on, you will only need to do one or the other, but in the beginning, it is good to attach the word with the signal. An easy way to get your dog to sit in front of you is to hold a small treat in your fingers and then turning the palm towards yourself, flip your hand in an upward motion as you say the word sit in front of the dog’s nose. The dog has an automatic response when the head tips up to reach for the treat by putting its bottom on the floor. Praise and reward, then repeat.
  • Down – again a single word to indicate to your dog that you want them to lie down. Using the treat in the hand trick again, this time direct the dog (from the seated position for ease in the beginning) by placing your hand palm downwards towards the floor. The dog will follow the treat and naturally go down to the floor.
  • Stay – Begin by having your dog sit in front of you on the lead. While holding your hand palm facing the dog, say the word stay and take a step back. Repeat the word then move back to the dog and praise if they stayed put. Treats work well too. Begin small and work up to moving further away. Once this is mastered you can move on to calling the dog to you.

If you are looking for professional dog training for you and your pet, visit the contact us page.

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