Training a difficult dog

Sep 10, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Wouldn't we all love to have a well-behaved dog at our side? Training your dog to obey your commands is a simple process, although it can be a long process that requires a huge amount of patience, if you want it done right. Here are a few tips that should put you on the road to success in training your pet.

Dog Training

Eye contact

When giving a command to your dog, be sure to make eye contact with him. This shows your pet that you are the "leader" of the pack. It is important for your dog to understand this, as dogs instinctively follow and obey the leader of their packs.

After you have established eye contact, call your pet by name and then give the command in a deep, firm voice. Do not yell, as that only frightens the animal. Also, keep your commands to one or two words. Dogs only understand a few human words. Spewing out a long sentence only confuses your pet. After giving the command, follow through by showing the dog exactly what you want him to do, while repeating the command.

For example, to get your dog to sit:

  1. Look him in the eye.
  2. Call him by name and say the command: Rover Sit!
  3. Hold his collar under his chin and push down on his rump with your other hand to get him to sit. Repeat the command as you do this.
  4. Give the dog a piece of a dog biscuit as a reward and praise him.

Giving your dog a reward, even though you had to physically show him how to sit, is important. The dog feels as if he's done something to please you and will be more willing to cooperate as you continue your instruction. Break your dog biscuits into small pieces however, you don't want to over feed your pet by giving him full dog treats.

Don't forget to praise the dog whenever he follows through on your commands without your prompting him with your hand. However, keep your praise light and quick..."good dog" or "good boy" said in an uplifting tone. No more than this, otherwise the dog may think it's play time and you'll have lost your willing pupil.

Repetition and patience
Now, the real fun starts -- repetition and patience. Continue to repeat this command and exercise for about 10 minutes.

Don't continue any longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Like all "children" pets get tired and bored doing the same thing over and over. Set aside a certain time of the day for training each day and repeat the process until the dog will sit on command. As you continue this each day, reduce the treats you give as well, giving a treat say every second time he obeys the command, so on and so forth, until he sits without expecting a treat.

Now, move onto the next command you want your dog to learn. Remember to only do one command at a time until your dog learns it, before moving on to the next. And also remember not to yell or hit your pet. Frustration and anger will get you no where. Patience, repetition, praise and love is what your dog needs, and you will soon have a dog that obeys you with little problems.