Advanced Dog Commands
Now that you and your dog know some of the basic dog obedience commands, it’s time to move on to some more advanced dog commands. The same principals apply to these commands: consistency and a positive attitude are important for success.
How to Teach Your Dog to Leave It
Sometimes your dog may want to investigate something you don’t want him to. This could be spilled food, broken glass, or a dead animal. The “leave it” command will let him know that you want him to move away from the undesirable object.
- Step away from your dog and put a treat on the floor in front of you. If he goes for the treat right away, put your hand or foot over it.
- When your dog stops, give him an enthusiastic “yes” or “good job” and give him a different treat from your hand. This will teach him that looking at you will give him the reward.
- When you’re sure he’ll look at you and not the treat every time, start incorporating the command “leave it” when you put the treat on the floor.
Teaching Your Dog Leash Walking
Many dogs naturally want to pull on their leashes as they walk. This can become problematic with larger dogs, although it is not desirable at any size. Continuing to walk when your dog is pulling will register as a reward to him, so he’ll continue to pull. If you pull back when he pulls he’ll think you’re playing. Instead, do the following:
- Stand still before the walk with your dog on his leash. Keep the leash short at this point (loop it around your hand a few times if you have to). He’ll wonder why you’re not moving and look at you. As soon as he looks to you, give him a treat as a reward. He’ll come to understand that paying attention to you is the best way to get a treat.
- If he walks while you are standing still, lean backwards slightly. He may pull, but don’t react. As soon as he stops pulling or looks at you, verbally praise him and give him a treat.
- When your dog simply stands by you, you can begin the walk. Pick a phrase to say when you want to begin: “let’s go” or “time to walk,” for example. As long as your dog is walking without pulling, continue to praise him and from time to time give him a treat.
- If your dog starts to pull as you’re walking, stop. He’ll stop and look at you. Give him praise and a treat. Continue in this way and he will understand that when he pulls, the walk stops.
- This command can take some time (and a lot of treats) to get down pat, so consider taking some kibble with you on your walk instead of bigger treats. You may even decide to feed him a meal this way.
Teaching Your Dog Right About Turn
As soon as you both are comfortable walking on the leash, it’s next time to teach your dog to follow you when turning. First, practice the right about turn, which is turning 180 degrees to go back the way you were coming.
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- Right before you turn, switch your leash to your left hand. Pat your right leg and make the complete turn. You may have to give the leash a little tug as you do so. Be careful to keep your tugs quick – if you give it a good pull then your dog will pull right back.
- Once you’re sure your dog will follow you, add the phrase “heel” or “turn”.
Teaching Your Dog Right and Left Turns
These 90 degree turns will be easy for your dog to pick up after he’s mastered the about turn.
- For a right turn, follow the same procedure you did with the about turn, but only turn 90 degrees.
- For a left turn, keep the leash handle in your right hand, but grab further down the leash with your left. Give it a little tug, pivot on your left foot, and continue walking on your right. Let go of the leash with your left hand.
- For both turns, practice a few times without a command, then once you’re sure they have it down you can add in the words. As always, lots of praise and treats will go a long way!