If you want an obedient dog there are ten rules you need to remember:

  1. Whenever teaching a new command it is best to practice in an environment with no distractions. Once the dog knows the command 90% of the time, start adding distractions in order to assure the dog will perform the command in any situation.
  2. If there are unavoidable distractions in your environment feel free to use your pet’s name.
  3. Do not repeat commands. If you say the same command over and over without enforcing it, the dog will become habituated to the command and it will lose its meaning. If you are positive the dog does know the command you are asking for, say “oops” and turn away from the dog. This prevents the command from being repeated and shows the dog that he lost a chance for a reward. Turn back around and request the command again.
  4. Be sure to obtain a response for every known command you give and do not give a command you do not intend to obtain a response from.
  5. Reinforce and reward your dog for behaviors you like such as sitting when he wants to be pet or for walking into the room and going to lie down without requesting your attention.
  6. When teaching obedience keep it interesting. The chance of a dog learning and remembering something will increase if he is having fun. Don’t mentally exhaust your dog by doing too much too soon. Know when to stop a training session and always end on a good note.
  7. Keep commands simple. Dogs do not speak English. They make an association with a sound (the command) and an action (the behavior). Do not try to reason with your dog. “Quiet” is sufficient and it is even better than “no bark”, which consists of two words.
  8. A command can not have more than one meaning or it will confuse your dog. For example if “down” means lie down do not expect your dog to get off the couch if you say “down” since more than likely he is already laying down on the couch.
  9. Always say a command in the same way with the same tone of voice no matter what the situation.
  10. Never punish after the fact. A behavior needs to be rewarded and/or punished within two seconds of the behavior occurring. Also the best way to punish a dog is to remove whatever he is finding rewarding.