Back to Basics…. Training Guide on Fundamental Commands.

Back to Basics…. Training Guide on Fundamental Commands.

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Commands “How-To” Guide

guide is to help you train your dogs on the basic commands. These commands not
only help you bond with your dog but keep them safe in dangerous situations. A
high value treat should be used for each of these commands. If you have any
questions about this guide, please contact Rebecca Panzica by phone at
(847)460-8725 or by e-mail at Thank you for
your continued support.

Step 1: Watch me

command uses what we call “jackpotting” or “rapid-fire” treats. You will want
to use training specific treats for this. Take a handful of treats and make
sure your dog knows that you have them. Take one treat between your thumb and
forefinger and guide your dogs’ eyes up to your eyes, saying the command “watch
me” once your dogs’ eyes meet yours. As soon as eye contact is made, give your
dog the treat and praise. Continue doing this, one right after another, until
all of the treats in your hand are gone. When it seems that your dog is
comfortable with the command, (usually takes between 10-20 treats) you can
start keeping your treat hand farther from your eyes and gradually get to a
point when your hand can be in your lap or off to the side. Your dog should
still make eye contact with you, even if it’s for a brief second. Make sure you
are giving the treat as soon as their eyes meet yours.

Step 2: Sit

command is fairly simple to teach a dog. Take a high value treat and get your
dogs’ attention.

1. Hold the treat in front of their nose and slowly lift
the treat up and over their head. The dogs’nose should naturally follow the
treat and their reaction should be to sit. They might try to jump or stand on
their hind legs at first but just repeat the motion. If they do not sit, you
can also try gently pressing on their hips to guide them into a sit.

2. As soon as their butt hits the floor, give them the
treat and praise them. Do this until they are consistently sitting when the
treat is raised.

3. At this point, you can begin using the command. As the
dog is lowering their butt, say sit. Once they do, give them the treat and
praise them. Continue to repeat this approximately 10 times.

4. You can then hold the treat in your hand and give them
the command. In the beginning when they don’t know the command you may have to
repeat.  Wait at least 1 minute before
repeating the command. Repeat the treat and praise. Key to success is to reward
immediately after they perform the training command and to repeat the training
command after they do it (ie., “Good Sit”) 
Continue to do this until they sit with just the command and then
continue repeating approximately 5-10 times. 
Ideally, you will get to a point where you only say the command once and
the dog learns that when you say the command and they will learn that it is not
optional.  So much of dog training is
having enough patience to wait them out.   
After they know the command try to not give  a treat each time they do it but mix it up
and sometimes just use verbal praise or a pet as the reward.  This way they won’t get in the habit of only
obeying a command if there is a treat involved. 

Step 3: Down/Lay

command can be a little bit more complicated and there are 2 great ways to
teach your dog. The first is to hold the treat in front of their nose and
slowly lower it to the floor with their nose following. Your dog may resist at
first but do not give them the treat and/or praise until their belly is
completely on the floor. The second way may not be able to be done by all but
is recommended if the first way is not working. Sit on the floor by your dog.
Bend one leg so that your knee is towards the ceiling and your foot is on the
floor. Have the dog on one side of your leg and the treat on the other. Use the
treat to guide their nose to the floor and underneath your bent knee. Do not
give them the treat and/or praise until their belly is completely touching the
floor. You may then continue sub-steps 2-4 as marked in the “Sit” section

Step 4: Stay

start this command, you want to make sure your dog is in an area with no
distractions. Leash your dog with a 6 ft and have them sit. You should be
standing about arm’s length away from your dog. Have a high value treat in your

1. Give the command “Stay” and hold your hand, palm flat,
facing the dog.

2. Wait 5 seconds and
then give praise and the treat to your dog if they don’t move.

3. Repeat this
approximately 5-10 times increasing the amount of time in between treats and

4. Next, give the
command again and take 1 step back. Repeat sub steps 1-4 in this section until
you are able to get to the end of the leash while your dog is in a “stay.” Do
not call your dog to you to give them the treat. Calmly walk towards your dog
to treat and praise them. When they have the command down while on leash, you
can then remove the leash and do all steps again.

Notes: All of these
commands should be started in a distraction free environment. Once the dog is
comfortable with them, you can then move to a different area with more
distractions such as in your backyard and progressing to a dog park if you have
one. Make sure you go through these commands as often as possible even if it’s
only for 10 minutes a day.