The Basics

Dog Training Basics

If you talk to a number of dog trainers, each would give you a different idea of what they believe “basic dog behaviors” to be. What follows are the three basic behaviors Joel believes all dogs should know and understand.

If you have a puppy, you can actually get a good head start on these four behaviors early. If you’re training your dog at a young age, always keep training fun and never put any extra stress on the puppy.

The four behaviors Joel recommends are SIT, STAY, ELEVATED AREAS and THE WORD “NO.” Your dog might need to know more, but these three are essential. But why?

SIT is a great behavior because it is a stationary position.

SIT is a great behavior because it is a stationary position.

When I am teaching the SIT, I follow it with the word “STAY” from day one.

When I am teaching the SIT, I follow it with the word “STAY” from day one.

Joel trains on an ELEVATED AREA making it easier to understand.

Joel trains on an ELEVATED AREA making it easier to understand.

The dog needs to know how to SIT and STAY because there are so many times where your front door is opened, and you need to know with confidence that your dog will SIT and STAY there if it is opened. Your dog needs to know the word “No” because it’s a way of communicating with the dog in the very moment he misbehaves. The dog might jump on someone, might start smelling the trash, start going out the door, or getting too playful, and you need to communicate that this is not acceptable with the word “No.”

Now let’s go through the behaviors:

The way the SIT and STAY is taught is by the use of ELEVATED AREAS. SIT is a great behavior because it is a stationary position. It’s very hard for the dog to move if he is in the sitting position. In addition to training the SIT behavior, Joel recommends training the dog on an ELEVATED AREA. The reason the ELEVATED AREA works so well is that it is a “defined place” so it makes it easier to understand. By using this, it is even that much more difficult for the dog to cheat or scoot. If the dog jumps off the ELEVATED AREA, you simply guide the dog back up there.

When Joel teaches the SIT, he follows it with the word “STAY” from day one. We are not necessarily backing away or asking the dog to stay for any length of time, but what we are doing is getting the dog conditioned to hearing that word once he sits.

After the dog starts to understand the sit behavior we can begin working on the STAY. Remember that there are two dimensions to the STAY—time and distance.

Time is how long your dog is staying, and distance is how far away you can be while your dog stays in place. Work on one of these at a time. The mistake so many owners make is training both of these at the same time, and quite often it can be a little too confusing for a dog. Work on time first, and then work on distance, and when the dog understands each, you can combine them.