Work by calling your dog’s name and say “Look” or “Watch.” Your dog will associate this with later commands. Get your dog’s attention by holding a toy or a dog treat in or near your mouth and then give the keyword command. Each time your dog watches or looks – lots of praise. Repeat often and you’ll see the changes over time.
Dogs have a short attention span. Choose a place free of other distractions (if you can). Many articles suggest you train for at least 30 minutes. Actually, it’s best when just starting to only make your sessions 5 minutes and end with something you know your dog loves to do. You can always do two or more 5-minute sessions a day. Positive reinforcement will win you your canine’s confidence.
All these commands should be started with your dog on a leash and wearing a buckle collar – NOT a choke collar. Over time you work without a leash, but not until they are solid with their commands.
Start with SIT while on leash. Use the word SIT and relate the word with the action. Start by gently pushing his butt down to the floor and saying the word “sit.” Eventually he’ll catch on.
DOWN – meaning lie down as opposed to OFF – meaning get off something. Down is a hand command with a treat in front of the nose and arcing it down towards the floor. Most dogs catch on quickly.
STAY – Put a treat down. As he moves toward it, tell him “Stay.” Put your hand up. As he gets the idea, move a bit further away. Be prepared for a step forward. Firmly say – BAH! Start the exercise over again if he gets up and moves. When he sits back down, praise, praise, praise and praise some more.
COME – There will be some confustion until the change in the tone of your voice will register you mean it is ok you can move. Put a little excitement in your voice. And remember to praise. Hint: move backwards from your dog ONLY when teaching the come command.
HEEL – Walk on my left side. Start walking. As soon as your pup gets ahead of you, immediately turn around and walk the opposite direction. Do not stop and wait for them, just reverse directions. They get the message that they need to watch you and pay attention and follow.