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Teaching dogs 'the basics' not difficult
Paws Corner
Bear for Paws Corner 0808.jpg
Bear is a 9-year old Gordon setter/Chow mix. His owners adopted him when his previous owner died. Bear is mostly obedient; unless he spies a rabbit. Then hold on while this 95-pound pooch gives chase. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Q: You’ve written that owners should spend time with their dogs in basic obedience training. What are “the basics” exactly? -- Ferris T., Huntington, New York  

A: While the specifics of basic obedience training for dogs are better detailed through books or by professional trainers, I can list these training requirements here. 

* Housetraining: The most basic and most important to you and your dog’s peace of mind. Teaching a new dog where and when to eliminate, and training yourself to keep a proper schedule, is a crucial initial step.  

* Heel: Your dog should walk calmly alongside you, and not struggle against the leash, pull you down the street or chase after birds, cars or other dogs. 

* Sit:  A well-trained dog will sit on command. When training on the leash, have the dog sit on your left side.  

* Down: The dog should lie down (on his belly, paws forward) on command. 

* Stay:  In the “sit” or “down” position, the dog should not move until you release him with a verbal command. 

* Come:  At your command, the dog should come to you, or respond to further directional commands (such as tugging the leash right or left to signal a turn). That’s it: five basic commands and housetraining. It doesn’t sound like much, but teaching a dog of any age these skills will take at least several weeks, if not months. And they must be taught correctly: no hitting or yelling, maintaining dominance over the dog.  Remember that basic obedience training doesn’t stop once these skills have been learned. Dogs need regular reinforcement, even if it’s just a five-minute review during their daily walks.

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