“Disaster, to me, means in some big or small way, things going wrong. And
that’s obviously a matter of perception, right? Let’s say your puppy chewed up
all the shoes in your house. She probably had a fine time doing that. In her mind,
a red letter day, the highlight of her puppy life.”
Amy Gerstler
Key Takeaway: Commands can be made use of for making your puppy
understand what you want him to do or not to do. You can communicate with
your puppy through commands.
In this chapter let us take a look at five basic commands that you will need to
teach your puppy. These commands are to make your dog to:
● Sit
● Stay
● Lie Down
● Recall, and
● Heel
These are the five most important commands. They will help you in
communicating your wishes to your puppy. Once you are done with these basic
commands you can start teaching him more advanced ones.

Teaching the Command “Stay”
There are certain commands that can help in saving your dog’s life and “Stay”
happens to be one of those commands. This command will help in avoiding any
dangerous situations and also with keeping your dog out of trouble. A pup will
understand the command stay easily since it is instinctive for it.
You will have to start out by training your dog to assume the “sit” position.
When your dog sits, you will have to stand facing the same direction as your
dog. This will be referred to as the “place” stance or position. Now, you will
have to hold the collar of your dog and say its name, followed by the command
“Stay”. Do this by placing your palm in front of the dog’s face. However, it
shouldn’t touch your dog. Your fingertips should be pointing upwards and your
palm should be towards your dog. If your dog stays still, then reward it with a
treat and some praise. If your dog gets up, then start all over again. Keep
repeating till your dog understands what it is supposed to do.
Once your dog understands this command, then you can proceed towards
increasing the amount of time spent following this command. Gradually increase
the amount of time for which your dog should stay still. If your dog tends to get
up somewhere in between, then you will have to start all over again. You will
also need to keep moving around while your dog is staying still. There needs to
be a release word that you can make use of for letting your dog know that it can
move now. You can use words like “okay” or “come.”

Teaching Your Puppy to Sit
You will have to start out by teaching your puppy how to sit when given the
command to do so. Your puppy shows politeness by sitting. This is a natural
form of reaction and shows that the dog isn’t aggressive. It also shows the
puppy’s willingness to wait.
When you enforce this command, the puppy will learn that if he wants
something, or if you are busy, then the proper thing to do would be to sit and
wait. The aim of teaching your puppy this command is that it would tell him
when he is supposed to sit and pay attention or to just calm down.
You will need to stand right in front of your puppy. Be calm but assertive. For
getting your puppy’s attention, you will need to look him in the eye and say
“[your dog’s name], sit.”
Initially, you can hold up a treat just above your puppy’s nose. In order for your
puppy to see the treat, your puppy will need to keep its head up and in this
process his bum will go down.
As soon as your puppy sits, give some praise. You can say “Yes” or “Good Boy”
and then give the treat that he was promised. The goal is for your puppy to
associate the action or the word with the treat and the praise that he would get
for doing it.
As much as possible, make use of hand signals instead of offering treats. Once
your dog gets accustomed to the verbal command, then you can use a hand
signal to convey the same. The most common one would be by placing the flat
of your hand over your dog’s ahead and in front of it while you say, “Sit”. You
will have to keep repeating this over and over again till your dog gets a hang of

somewhere in between, then you will have to start all over again. You will
also need to keep moving around while your dog is staying still. There needs to
be a release word that you can make use of for letting your dog know that it can
move now. You can use words like “okay” or “come.”

To Lay Down
You will need to teach your dog to lie down. This command is usually combined
with the “Stay” command, but is a relatively stronger command. “Down” should
be made use of for stopping whatever action was taking place before the
command was given. It helps in controlling or restraining the dog’s behavior.
You will have to start out with the “Sit” and then say your dog’s name followed
by “Down”. You should hold your left hand over your dog’s head and the palm
should be pointing towards the floor. Hold a treat in your right hand. Lower the
hand towards the floor slowly and keep it close to your dog’s body. You will
need to keep giving your dog some form of positive reinforcement for
completing this command.
Once your dog has placed itself on the floor with its elbows and bum resting on
the floor, you can give it some praise. This will help in forming a positive
association between the action performed and the reward it gets. You will need
to keep repeating this command several times till your dog actually gets a hang
of it.
The goal is for your dog or your puppy to learn and follow the command. The
dog will need to follow the command regardless of what it is. In this manner,
you will be able to stop your dog before it indulges in any destructive behavior.
Like with any other commands, you will have to start from the beginning if your
dog doesn’t listen to you.

Teaching Recall
You will need to teach your dog to come to you whenever you call him. Recall is
also referred to as “come”. You will have to start out with the basic “sit” position
and then move ahead from there.
Start by gently pulling your dog by its collar while saying its name, followed by
“Come”. You should do this in an encouraging voice. You want your dog to
come to you and this should be accompanied with a gesture of your hand to
show the dog what you want it to do. You can lure your dog towards you with
the help of a treat or even by placing a bit of dog food at your feet and point at it.
After gesturing for a while, your dog will definitely come towards the food. It is
incredibly important that you keep on providing your dog with some form of
positive reinforcement so that he knows that he is doing the right thing. Positive
encouragement and treats will definitely help the dog know that what he is doing
is desirable. You will need to keep practicing this command time and again.
Whenever you are interacting with your pet, and at any opportunity you get
practice this command. If your dog does something else instead of coming
towards you, you will have to start all over again.

Teaching Your Dog to Heel
This is perhaps one of the most difficult commands to teach your dog. However,
with time and consistency, your dog will definitely learn it. Teaching your puppy
to heel will not only save your back, shoulders and neck, but will also help in
saving your dog’s neck. Not just that, it will also help in saving your dignity and
your dog’s too. However, dignity might not be something that your dog would
care much for. Your dog would probably want to walk at a brisk pace, sniff, and
keep veering off in different directions. You will need to tell him whether or not
it is the time for him to go exploring.
Start out by placing your dog in the sitting position. Make use of the usual leash
with which you take him for walking with and get your dog to “sit” beside your
leg. You both should be facing the same direction. This is referred to as the place
position. Make use of the left side to not confuse your dog. Now say your dog’s
name and say “heel”. Say this while you are stepping forward with the left foot.
This will tell your dog that it is time to move forward. Your dog will either try to
resist or zoom ahead. In such a case, gently tug on his leash and repeat this
command again. You will need to keep instructing your dog to stay by your side.
You can pat your leg and say, “Keep with me or over here”. Make sure you say
this affirmatively. Your dog should want to follow your command.
If your dog starts moving ahead of you, you should say your dog’s name and say
heel in a very calm and authoritative voice. If necessary, tug on his leash and ask
him to sit down. If your dog resists or moves ahead, then pull him gently and
place him near your left leg. There shouldn’t be any tension between you and
your dog. Your dog should want to listen to you. Keep your calm and stay
patient. This command does take a while to get right. Don’t forget to give your
dog some praise whenever he gets it right. You will also have to teach your dog
to stop and sit whenever you stop. When you think you are ready to stop, stop
yourself on your left foot and calmly say, “sit”. After repeating this for a few
times, your dog will definitely get the hang of it.
Practice this command with just your body language. After a while, your dog
will understand what you mean. You can make use of hand signals or verbal
commands, whatever works the best.

There are certain things that you should keep in mind while training your dog.
You should never show your frustration or any irritation you might feel while
training. This will just confuse your dog or even frighten it. This will create a
negative experience not just for your dog but for you as well. If you feel that you
are losing your calm, then in such a case, take a break and start again. Stay
positive. Your dog should feel rewarded too.
You should be firm and gentle with your dog. Don’t let him take advantage of
you. You shouldn’t postpone the training sessions or give up too quickly. It is
easier to start training a pup than a dog, the choice is yours.
Make sure that the dog knows who the boss is before you get started with the
training sessions. The dog won’t listen to you if it doesn’t think that you are the
Finally, don’t involve too many peoples when it comes to training your dog. If
the dog hears different things at one go, it will just get confused



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