“Look at the relationship you have with your dog, because that’s what it’s all about,” he said. Paramount, then, to correcting a behavioral issue is figuring out how a given issue relates to the relationship between dog and guardian. A good trainer, advises Mr. Bekoff, will say to you: “Tell me about you and your relationship with your dog: Do you work at home? Are you home a lot? How many people are in your house?”

After your dog has mastered the come command, it’s time to teach him how to sit. This command is, after all, a prerequisite for many others. To train your dog to sit, simply hold a treat above his head and slowly move it back. Most dogs respond to this gesture by automatically moving into the sitting position. As soon as your dog starts to sit, say the word “sit” and offer the treat as a reward. Repeating this task many times will help reinforce the command. This command is especially useful in instilling good manners. For example, an obedient dog who sits on command won’t jump on visitors.


Training takes practice, and the more time and effort you put into the process, the more you will get out of it. If this is your first dog—and even if it isn’t—you may want to consider hiring a private trainer or think about signing up for a training class. Puppies usually start out in puppy kindergarten. After that you can join an obedience class for older puppies. Class size for puppies should be limited to eight to ten dog-and-handler teams per instructor. This ratio enables the instructor to give each team enough attention and time to respond to questions or special training circumstances.
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