Having a trained dog isn’t the same as having a balanced dog, but if your dog knows a few basic commands, it can be helpful when tackling problem behaviors — existing ones or those that may develop in the future.

So where do you start with dog obedience training? You could take a class, but it’s not necessary; you can do it yourself. In fact, with the right attitude, it can be fun for both you and your dog!

Sit
This is one of the easiest dog obedience commands to teach, so it’s a good one to start with.

  • Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.
  • Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower.
  • Once he’s in sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection.

Repeat this sequence a few times every day until your dog has it mastered. Then ask your dog to sit before mealtime, when leaving for walks, and during other situations where you’d like him calm and seated.

Come
This command can help keep a dog out of trouble, bringing him back to you if you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open.

  • Put a leash and collar on your dog.
  • Go down to his level and say, “Come,” while gently pulling on the leash.
  • When he gets to you, reward him with affection and a treat.

Once he’s mastered it with the leash, remove it — and practice the command in a safe, enclosed area.