Teach Your Dog These Basic Dog Training Cues
All dogs should learn a series of basic dog training cues to keep them safe while having fun. Most puppy group classes teach these important behaviors, but dogs are never too old to learn these training cues either.
Grab your clicker, super yummy treats and your dog. Practice daily for 1-2 minutes to ensure your dog’s behaviors are sharp. In addition, practicing these cues will provide your dog lots of mental enrichment, which is a good thing.
Touch is such a simple dog behavior that can be used anywhere and for anything; it’s my favorite cue for all dogs. Dogs love this behavior too because it’s easy and super fun.
Teach your dog to touch his nose to the palm of your hand when your hand is presented. There’s no verbal cue. Instead, your hand becomes the signal to play the “touch” game. Once your dog understands to purposefully touch his nose to the palm of your hand, move your hand farther away, so your dog walks over and touches.
This dog game can be played quickly or slowly, and can be played at your vet’s office, in the car, at the park or on the sofa. Touch is extremely useful when teaching loose leash walking and coming when called too.
2. Come When Called
Training a dog to return back to you on cue is invaluable. This dog training cue prevents dogs from running off and getting lost, chasing things, fence fighting, and so much more.
Start by playing this game indoors and use high value rewards. Every time your dog returns back to you, throw a party! Once your dog reliably returns to you indoors, it’s time to take this game outdoors and make it fun.
Try running away from your dog while rapidly repeating high-pitched sounds to prompt your dog to chase you indoors. When your dog returns to you, make treats rain from the sky. If you’re more interesting than the squirrel, your dog will return back every time.
3. Body Handling
All dogs should learn that body handling is super rewarding. Teach your dog that you touching his ears, paws, tail and belly make treats appear. Once your dog is comfortable with body handling, meaning he doesn’t pull away while you’re touching a body part, reward for longer sessions.
Start slow and click your dog when he comfortably allows you to touch and look into his ear for a second. Gradually increase the time by 1-2 second increments. Reward your dog for mouth handling too, which is a great introduction to tooth brushing. Don’t forget your dog’s rear end too! Click and treat when lifting your dog’s tail, touching his belly and touching his rear paws.
4. Leave It
The “leave it” behavior can be used anywhere too. Train your dog to ignore discarded chicken bones during walks, dropped food in the kitchen or another dog in the distance. “Leave it” is an amazing impulse control game too. Your dog will soon learn that his behavior really matters. Reward this behavior heavily and keep it light and fun.