What Is Dog Obedience Training

Dog Obedience Training
Photo Credit: Tom Verdoot, pexels.com

We admire our dogs for their looks and adore them for their loyalty, playfulness, unconditional love, and their zest for life.

Despite how much we love and adore our furry friends, they are different from us. Although they are termed ‘man’s best friend’ they have some behavior that is exhibited due to their instincts but is displeasing.

Why do you need to train your dog?

You need to train your dog because behavior like digging up dirt, jumping on people to greet them, and chewing on furniture can make dogs difficult to live with. To make your dog your best friend truly, you need to build a relationship with them and also teach them how to live in a human abode.

Dogs are always enthusiastic about life and are eager to learn. All you need to do is to make your dog understand what you require from them at any given time and give them a reason why they should do what you want.

What is Dog Obedience Training?

Dog obedience training is a procedure through which you teach your dog their role in your home and in their environment. You train your dog on the basic skills they will use to interact with the people they live with, the people they will eventually meet in their environment, and other dogs.

Dogs start their training by learning basic commands like ‘stay’ and ‘sit’ and later start learning complex behavior like hunting and running errands.

The exciting part of dog obedience training is that you can modify the activities to suit your lifestyle and routine. There are no clear-cut rules. The only thing that matters is that your dog understands what you want from them and carries out commands.

Before You Start…

Obedience training is important to you and your dog, so you have to make plans to make the experience worth it.

What are the steps to take before you start training your dog?

1. If you have not trained a dog before, the first thing to do is to get trained. If you think it is something you can pull off, try it, and make adjustments as you go.

2. Make out time to study your dog and other dogs generally and how they behave. Some dogs are hyperactive while some are not.

3. Now, it is time to make a list of unwanted behavior and assign consequences to them.

4. Create commands for the training. Make them short and easy to remember. Make a note if necessary.

Remember, it is not a clever idea to be violent with your dog. This will make the dog develop fear or aggression towards you.

Obedience training requires a lot of patience and practice. Show your dog a lot of love but also be firm. Keep the training sessions short but eventful.

It is easier to carry out obedience training on a puppy than an adult dog who may have established some unwanted behavior. It is also up to you to choose a suitable training method you believe will be the best for you and your furry friend.

Dog Obedience Training Methods

There are so many dog training methods so it could be a task making a choice of the method you want for you and your dog.

What are the most popular dog obedience training methods?

The most popular dog training methods are:

1. Positive reinforcement method

2. Electronic training method

3. Scientific training method

4. Mirror training method

5. The Alpha dog method

6. Relationship-based method

Positive Reinforcement Method

What is the positive reinforcement dog obedience training method?

The positive reinforcement method is a training method based on the theory that dogs will always repeat a behavior when rewarded. In this training method, bad behavior does not get a reward. Correction is done by withholding rewards. Violent or harsh verbal corrections are not allowed.

How is the positive reinforcement dog training carried out?

This method is carried out by rewarding good behavior as soon as it happens. This helps the dog to associate this behavior with rewards. Rewards could be in the form of a toy or the dog’s favorite treat or verbal praise and pats.

This training method can be combined with the use of a clicker to signal the dog that they displayed a good behavior or obeyed a command.

How is clicker dog training done?

The clicker dog training relies on the use of a device that makes a sharp noise as a signal to a dog that they carried out a wanted behavior. This is usually followed by a treat, toy, or praise.

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What is the benefit of the clicker in positive reinforcement training?

The benefit of using the clicker in positive reinforcement training is that it lets the dog know they did something right as soon as it was done. Once the good behavior is established, the clicker is used, and rewards are given to the dog. Over time, the dog begins to associate the clicker with rewards and will do all they can to hear the clicker sound and get a reward.

The positive reinforcement dog training method requires love, patience, and consistency. Teach everyone who is living with you and your dog the commands and the rewards for each behavior.

During the early stages of the training, reward your dog lavishly, and keep reducing the interval and quantity of treats offered as the training progresses.

Since it is possible to overfeed your dog while in training, it is better to use small treats if you are going to be rewarding your dog with food.

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Electronic Training Method

What is the electronic dog training method?

This method involves the use of an electronic collar to correct bad behavior from a distance. The dog wears a collar with an attached device that delivers electrical stimulation to the dog when they carry out an unwanted behavior. Some electronic collars spray the dog when they bark while others give the dog a mild electric shock.

How is the electronic collar used in training?

The electronic collar has a remote which the dog parent uses to send signals to the collar when the dog is engaging in an unwanted behavior such as digging the yard, chewing the furniture, or scaling the fence.

Apart from correcting unwanted behavior, the electronic collar can be used to train the dogs to hunt or work in fields.

The use of an electronic method of dog training does not reward good behavior but rather, it corrects unruly behavior.

What are the negative effects of the electronic collar?

Sometimes, a dog trained with the electronic method has anxiety issues. This is because the dog only knows what is not wanted of them and does not know when they exhibit good behavior. Most times, the dog owners tend to overuse the collar and cause constant disturbance and discomfort to the dog.

It is best to consult a professional before using the electronic method of dog training. If you are not adequately informed on how to effectively and safely use the electronic collar, you can try other training methods.

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Scientific Training Method

What is the scientific dog training method?

The scientific dog training method is a method based on the understanding of dog behavior, their psychology, their nature, and how they can be conditioned using rewards and punishments. Before a behavior is established as unwanted, it is studied and understood. This method also involves some aspects of positive reinforcement, where bad behavior is ignored and good behavior is rewarded.

Dog owners who intend to use this method should constantly study dog behavior to find out the latest discoveries by researchers.

They also need to study and learn how to reinforce good behavior even without rewards and to improve the relationships between the dog and the dog parent.

Mirror Training Method

What is the mirror dog training method?

The mirror dog training method is based on the theory that dogs behave like their owners. As a dog parent, the method requires that you become a model of wanted behavior or become a rival who your dog will be competing with for a reward. This is also known as the model-rival method.

How is the mirror dog training method done?

During the mirror training session, the dog owner becomes the model who the trainer praises or rewards for completing tasks and is scolded for not behaving properly. While the training is going on, the dog looks at the model and tries to mimic him in order to get rewards too. The rivalry between the model and the dog will make the dog become eager to conduct tasks and complete them quicker for a reward.

This method is preferred by a lot of dog owners since it is natural and fun. It also helps the dog parent and the dog to form a bond during the training session and thereafter.

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The Alpha Dog Method

What is the Alpha dog training method?

The Alpha Dog training method is based on the theory that dogs regard their families as their pack which has a hierarchy. The dog owner becomes the pack leader or the alpha dog and gets other dogs to submit and obey commands. This method is also known as the Dominance Method.

How can a dog owner become the Alpha dog?

To become an Alpha dog, you do not allow your dog to enjoy the same benefits as you, and they do not move before you in any activity. You always need to be in charge and be dominant. The dog owner achieves this by projecting the authority and confidence of the alpha dog, understanding the body language and psychology of dogs, and taking the lead in carrying out activities.

Some professionals believe that this training method makes the dog develop fear or aggression towards the owner or other dogs.

This method requires constant reinforcement of authority and dominance since the dog will always make an effort to regain dominance from the owner.

Relationship-Based Dog Training

What is the relationship-based dog training method?

The relationship-based dog training method relies on the relationship between the dog parent and the dog for the correction of bad behavior and the establishment of good behavior.

How can you train your dog using the relationship-based method?

To train your dog using the relationship-based method, do the following:

1. Fully understand your dog and find out what could bring about any behavior at any given time. This will help you to find out what is the best punishment or reward to give.

2. You have to find out what best motivates your dog and use that as a medium to help your dog establish wanted behavior and stop the unwanted ones.

3. Make the environment conducive for the dog during training and also look out for signs that the dog is stressed or is losing concentration on the training.

When a dog exhibits unwanted behavior, the dog parent would figure out why the dog is not obeying commands.

This method strengthens the bond between a dog and its owner since they are always driven to make each other happy. This method takes a long time and requires more patience than other dog training methods.

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Benefits of The Obedience Dog Training

A dog who exhibits a series of unwanted behavior can be difficult to live with. No matter how much you love your dog, you need to teach him how to cope with a human family.

What are the benefits of the obedience dog training?

There are many ways you and your dog can benefit from obedience training. They are:

1. When your dog is bent on making you happy and responding to your cues, the reward it receives from you in the form of treats, pats and praises create a bond between both of you.

2. Dogs that can carry out basic commands are easier to live with and it becomes easier to incorporate them in family activities and events.

3. Obedience training teaches your dog how to coexist with other dogs and how to be social when they encounter other dogs or strangers when you are out of your home.

4. Obedience training is a fun and exciting activity for you and your dog. The exercises involved in the training can enhance the physical abilities of your dog.

5. It will also broaden your social circle as you meet other dog owners, veterinary doctors, professional dog trainers, and also watch different dog breeds train.

6. You could learn and master the science of dog training and eventually become a professional dog trainer.

An obedient dog is safer to keep around people, especially babies since they will not pose any harm and can be controlled if need be. They can also heed to commands and prevent being exposed to accidents and fatal activities.

Dog Obedience Training Commands

Teaching your dog some basic commands can help you in getting rid of unwanted behavior and establishing new ones.

It is a good idea to get trained before starting your dog obedience training but if you have an idea of what it takes, you can go ahead and get started.

The commands you can teach your dog are:


This is usually the first command your dog should learn.  Teach your dog to sit with the following steps:

  1. Create a cue or gesture for this command.
  2. Hold your dog’s favorite treat to their nose.
  3. Move your hand above their head until their bottom lowers.
  4. Continue moving the treat until their bottom touches the ground.
  5. Click and/or treat and show them some love.
  6. Repeat the procedure as often as you can until your dog can carry out the command effortlessly.


Before training your dog to stay, make sure they have mastered the ‘sit’ command. This will usually take some time for your dog to master since dogs always love to be on the move and to hang around their owner. It is usually a task that puppies and hyperactive dogs struggle with.

How can you train your dog to stay?

Train your dog to stay using the following steps:

1. Make your dog sit.

2. Signal your dog to stay.

3. Walk a few steps away.

4. If your dog stays, click, and/or treat.

5. Repeat the procedure and take more steps back.

6. If the dog stays, reward it lavishly.


This command is used to get your dog back to you when they are about to get into trouble especially when they go loose on the leash or leave the house.

How can you train your dog to come?

Train your dog to come using the following simple steps:

1. Wear a collar and leash on your dog.

2. Give the command and gesture your dog to come.

3. Gently pull on the leash.

4. When your dog comes, reward with a treat or praise.

When the dog is familiar with the command, try getting your dog to come without tugging on the leash or when he is off-leash.

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Leave It

This command is used to keep your dog away from sniffing or chewing on an item by offering something more intriguing.

How do you train your dog to leave an item?

Train your dog to leave an item with the following steps:

1. Hold a treat on your two hands. Let your dog see the treat on one hand then close the hand and give the ‘leave it’ command.

2. Once they stop trying to get the treat from the closed fist, open the other hand and give them the treat.

3. Repeat these steps until your dog moves away from the closed fist when you give the “leave it’ command.

4. When your dog masters this trick, only offer the treat when they leave the unwanted object and focuses attention on you.

5. When your dog begins to do this, start dropping the treat you want him to leave on the floor instead of holding it in your hand.

6. Cover the treat on the floor with your hand then give the command. When your dog ignores the treat on the floor and looks at you, give him a better treat, and shower him with praise.

You can then go ahead and drop the treat on the floor, give the command and offer a treat when your dog ignores the treat on the floor and focuses on you.


This is one of the most difficult obedience training your dog will undergo. This is because it puts the dog in a submissive state. Most dogs will find it challenging to assume the posture required in this training. It is your responsibility to make the training as fun and as relaxing as possible.

How can you train your dog to stay down?

Train your dog to stay down with the following steps:

1. Put your dog’s favorite treat in your hand and close it

2. Hold the treat to your dog’s nose.

3. Once they can smell the treat, move the hand close to the floor.

4. Once they follow, slide the hand on the floor.

5. When they lie down on the floor, say the ‘down’ command and give them the treat.

Try these steps often and do not encourage your dog by offering them a treat when they did not lie down.

Do not push down your dog when they do not take the posture.

Video: Basic Dog Obedience Training

This video explains how you can train your to obey simple commands and cues.

What Is Dog Obedience Training — Related FAQs

What Does Obedience Training Do for a Dog?

Obedience training helps your dog to know their roles in the home and in the world. Your dog will learn the basic skills that they need in order to live with humans inside and outside the home. It also helps your dog to be able to interact with other dogs.

Obedience training is what helps your dog to learn the basic commands like “stay” and “sit”. It is a good idea to find out the wrong behavior your dog has before starting the training. These negative behaviors have to be taken care of before the obedience training starts.

How Do I Teach My Dog Obedience?

To teach your dog to obey, get them to learn the ‘sit’ command first. This is one of the easiest dog obedience commands to teach your dog.

To teach your dog to sit, do the following:

1.    Hold your dog’s favorite treat to their nose.

2.    Move the treat upward. Your dog will tilt their head back.

3.    Keep moving your hand until they lower their bottom and sit.

4.    Once your dog sits, say the command prompt. You can use the word ‘sit’ if you want.

5.    Give your dog a treat and praise them.

Other obedience commands like “stay” and “come” can be learned when your dog learns the ‘sit’ command.

When Should A Dog Start Obedience Training?

As soon as a dog is born, you can start training them. Obedience training should begin as soon as your dog can open their eyes and move around.

However, the recommended age to start training your dog to sit or stay is at 7 weeks. This age is recommended because, at that age, their sense of smell and sight is established. You have also discovered their favorite treat by then.

At this age, your dog is also beginning to get a hold on their bowels and bladder in case you want to potty train them while training them to obey.

Can I Train My Dog Myself?

You can train your dog by yourself but there are some steps you have to take first. Take some time to understand your dog and learn basic canine behaviors. Do not rely fully on the information available on the internet.

Discover the positive and negative behavior your dog exhibits and decide on those to modify. Prepare the commands and cues to use for the training and practice them.

You need to get trained properly before training your dog. You can attend a dog training school or hire a dog training professional to help.

What Are Basic Obedience Commands for Dogs?

The basic commands for dogs are words used in training a dog to fit in properly in a home or interact with other people and other dogs.

These commands are the ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, ‘watch me’, ‘down’, ‘wait’, ‘heel’, and the ‘stand’ command. Other commands you can teach your dog are the ‘take it’, ‘drop it’, ‘enter the crate’, ‘settle down’, and the ‘stop barking’ commands.

While teaching your dog these commands, make it fun, and do not punish your dog when they do not get it right. Be patient and maintain a happy mood throughout your training sessions.

What Should You Expect from Your 7-Month-Old Puppy?

 At 7 months, your puppy is expected to do the following:

1.    Be quite playful and start craving the attention of the dog parents and the company of other dogs.

2.    Have proper control of their bowel and bladder.

3.    Recognize your command, cues, and body language.

4.    Take a walk with you and undergo professional training.

5.    Participate in dog competitions.

6.    Ignore your commands sometimes and engage in unwanted behavior. This is due to adolescent dog instincts.

7.    Become hyperactive and exhibit strong canine behavior such as digging, burying objects, chewing on hard surfaces, chasing small animals, and barking for longer periods.

How Many Training Sessions Does A Dog Need?

The number of training sessions a dog needs depends on the roles the dog intends to play in the parent’s or owner’s life.

A pet dog can be trained 1-2 times in a day, 3-4 days a week. 20 minutes of training a day are considered adequate for pet dogs since they are emotionally attached to their parents. This emotional attachment makes training pet dogs difficult since they tend to whine a lot if stressed and garner pity.

However, guard dogs, rescue, and sport dogs require more training sessions. This is because they need to acquire special skills to enable them to carry out their duties and to excel in competitions.

What Happens If You Do Not Train Your Dog?

When you do not train your dog, expect the following:

1.    Your dog will decide to be in charge and will challenge you and other humans they are living with.

2. The dog will exhibit unwanted behavior such as tearing up furniture, eliminating at random places in the house, and exhibiting aggression towards people and other dogs.

3.    The dog will find their way out of the home and dwell with other street dogs when you try to correct their negative behavior.

4.    Some untrained dogs can become withdrawn and find it difficult to cope with regular family life.