What Are the Basics of Dog Training for Dummies?

Training your dog is an important part of being a responsible pet parent. It’s also a great way to bond with your furry friend. But it can be overwhelming for anyone who’s new to it.

Don’t worry, though!

It’s easier than it looks. With a few simple commands and consistent reinforcement, you’ll be on your way to a well-behaved pup in no time. So don’t be scared to give it a go! You and your pup will benefit in the long run.

Basic Commands

Training your dog the basics doesn’t have to be hard. Starting with the most important commands can make teaching your pup much easier.

Teaching them to sit, stay, come, and leave it are all important commands that can help to keep your dog safe and can help in other aspects of dog training. When teaching your dog, rewarding desired behaviors is key. Treats and praise are both great ways to reward your pup for a job well done.

Giving them treats when they obey a command, or getting down on their level and giving them lots of praise can go a long way in the training process.

Consistent reinforcement is also key to successful dog training. Repetition is key in helping your pup learn the commands, and continuing to reward them for good behavior is essential. A consistent reward system will help your pup understand what is expected from them and will help them to learn faster.


Start with “Sit” command first as it’s the most basic command:

Teaching your pup the “Sit” command is the first step to mastering dog training for dummies. You want to get your pup to perch on their backside and remain there. To do this, take one of your pup’s favorite treats and hold it in your hand right in front of their nose. Keep their gaze fixed on the treat and then slowly move your hand up and back. As your pup follows the treat, their bottom should hit the ground. When they do, say “Sit” and give them the treat. Repeat this several times and then give your pup a break. They’ll learn the behavior when you say the word “Sit” and don’t need the treat. Once your pup has mastered the “Sit” command, it’s time to teach them “Stay.” This will help your pup learn to remain in one spot no matter what. To do this, have your pup “Sit” and then open your hand with your palm facing them. Say “Stay” as you open your hand and then take a step back. If your pup stays in the “Sit” position, reward them with a treat. Take a few more steps back and repeat the process. If your pup gets up from the “Sit” position, have them start again. The more they practice the “Stay” command, the more they’ll become comfortable with it. You’ll want to teach your pup the “Come” command. This is helpful so you can get your pup’s attention when they wander off. Have your pup “Sit” and then take a few steps away. Clap your hands and call out your pup’s name and tell them to come to you. When they come to you, pet them and reward them with a treat. Repeat this until your pup begins to understand the behavior and then reward them with a treat and lots of praise. With consistency and patience, your pup will soon understand the “Come” command.


Staying is an important command for training your dog, as it helps your pup learn how to maintain a certain position for a length of time. You should encourage your pup to stay for progressively longer periods of time. Start with a few seconds and gradually increase the length of the stay.

You can reward your pup with a treat or praise when they stay for the duration of the command. For your pup to understand the command, get their attention with a verbal cue such as “stay” or “wait” and use physical cues like pointing or holding your hand up.

It’s also important to stay close when you’re first teaching them this command and avoid giving them any additional commands.

To ensure your pup maintains the stay, you should release them after they have stayed for the agreed upon duration with a reward or by saying “OK” and gently petting them. It’s important to remember that this command is all about reinforcement. The more consistent and patient you are, the more quickly your pup will understand the command and be able to stay for longer periods of time.

Your pup is learning and if you make mistakes, that’s okay! Just keep at it, and you’ll soon have a pup who can stay in one place for as long as you need them to.


Training your pup to come when called is an essential part of any good training plan. To do so, start by getting your pup’s attention and giving the command in a firm and clear voice. Use a treat or toy to lure your pup to you.

As soon as your pup is close enough to touch, reward them with a treat and praise. Repeat this step several times, gradually increasing the distance that your pup has to travel.

Once your pup is reliably coming to you, gradually cut back on the treats.

You should be able to simply give the command and your pup will come running. It’s important to remember that setting your pup up for success is key.

If the space is too large or your pup isn’t ready, they may not comply. Start with small distances and work your way up as your pup progresses.

Don’t forget to reward your pup every time they do come when called. This will help build a positive association and reinforce the behavior. With enough practice and consistency, your pup will soon come when called every time.

Leave it

When teaching your dog the “leave it” command, it’s important to be consistent and establish clear boundaries. Start by showing your dog a treat and saying “leave it”.

If your pup goes for the treat, cover it with your hand and reinforce the command by saying “leave it!” When your dog stops trying to get to the treat, reward them with another treat or praise. This will help your pup understand that obedience leads to rewards. It’s also important to practice the “leave it” command with different objects and distractions.

If your pup is tempted by a toy, show them the toy and say “leave it”. If they go for it, cover it with your hand and say “leave it!” Again, reward your pup for obedience with a treat or praise. With consistent reinforcement and training, your dog will learn the “leave it” command in no time.

Rewarding Desired Behaviors

Rewarding desired behaviors is an important part of dog training for dummies. By giving your dog treats or praise when it does something correctly, you’re creating a positive reinforcement that encourages the desired behavior and helps it learn faster. Treats are a great way to reward a job well done, but make sure to use them wisely.

You don’t want your pup to become dependent on food rewards and snacks. Try to use verbal praise and physical affection as well.

Consistent reinforcement is key to successful dog training. As long as your pup is responding to commands, keep reinforcing the behavior with rewards.

That doesn’t mean you need to give a treat every time it does something correctly — a gentle pat on the head or word of affirmation can be just as effective. Using repetition, patience and praise will help your pet learn faster and retain the commands for longer.


Treats are an essential part of reinforcing desired behaviors when you are training your dog. They serve as both a reward and a motivator for your pup and can be incredibly useful in helping your pup learn.

When using treats as a reward, it is important to make sure that you are using the right type of treats for your pup. High-value treats like freeze-dried liver or tiny pieces of cheese are ideal for rewarding your pup as they are not only flavorful and appealing, but are also easy to break into smaller pieces, allowing you to reward more frequently.

It is important to be consistent with the treats you use, so that your pup is able to recognize them as a reward. When using treats as a reward, it is important to ensure that you are using them properly.

You should not overfeed treats, as this can make your pup uninterested in the reward and less likely to take notice of it. You should always provide treats immediately following the desired behavior, as the pup may not recognize the reward if it is given after a delay. It is important to make sure that your pup is aware of the reward before they perform the behavior, as this will help them understand that the treat is in response to the desired action.


Praising your pup is a great way to encourage more of the behaviors you want to see. Every time your dog does something you like, let them know with a happy voice and a pat on the head. Special treats for good behavior are great too, but regular praise is just as important.

Your pup will recognize when you’re praising them and will be encouraged to continue exhibiting the desired behavior.

When praising your pup, be sure to use a distinct word or phrase that they understand, like “good boy” or “great job”. You can also use a specific hand gesture that your pup has learned to recognize, such as pointing or clapping. This will help them to distinguish which behaviors you’re praising and will reinforce their understanding that these behaviors are good.

It’s important to be consistent with your praise whenever your pup does something right. If you only praise them once in a while when they do something impressive, they won’t understand what behavior you’re praising them for. Strengthen your bond with your pup by giving them regular compliments, and watch their behavior improve.

Consistent Reinforcement

Consistency is key when it comes to reinforcing behaviors in your pup. Repetition of commands and reward systems are the foundation of a well-behaved pet that you can be proud of. Starting with simple commands and repeating them until your pup has mastered them is a surefire way to ensure that they understand the language you are speaking.

Providing rewards when they have completed the task assigned to them will show them that their actions are appreciated.

Not only will they understand the commands, but they will also be more likely to repeat the behaviors. This reward system should also be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement.

Giving verbal praise or physical affection once your pup has followed your command will prove to them that you are pleased with their action, and it will help to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. It is also important to be aware that giving treats for every command may lead to an overweight pet, so be sure to spread out the rewards. When it comes to reinforcing good behavior, consistency is key!


Repetition is a key part of successful dog training, and it’s important to remember that your pup won’t learn a command on the first try. You have to be consistent in your approach and keep repeating commands until your dog responds correctly.

Don’t get discouraged if your pup isn’t learning – it just means you have to practice a little longer. Try to give the same command in the same way each time, and reward your pup when they get it right. Make sure to give lots of verbal praise as well – it’ll let your pup know that they’re doing a good job.

It’s also important to use repetition during your daily routine.

Whenever you take your pup out for a walk or to the park, practice commands like sit, stay, and come. When your pup responds correctly, give them lots of verbal praise and a treat. With regular practice and repetition, your pup will get the hang of the commands and you’ll be able to trust them to behave appropriately when you’re out and about!


Rewards can be an effective way to reinforce desired behaviors in your dog. Not only are treats a great reward, but your dog will love verbal praise and the extra attention.

Be sure to reward your pup within three seconds of the desired behavior to ensure that your dog connects the reward with the action. Remember to vary the type of reward you give in order to keep your pup engaged and motivated. If your pup isn’t responding to rewards, try to vary the timing of when you reward your pup, or choose a different type of reward.

When rewarding your pup, make sure you don’t become overly generous and only give small amounts of treats. This will help prevent unhealthy weight gain, as too much food could cause your pup to become sick.

Focus on providing verbal praise, petting, or playing with your pup to reward desired behavior. Doing so will ensure that your pup stays healthy and happy!

Megan Turner

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