Once your dog has passed Basic Obedience Training, you may find yourself surprised at the things he doesn’t know. Fortunately, with the skills he does know, you can begin teaching the more advanced skills at home.
- Basic Obedience Training lays a foundation for more advanced commands.
- Advanced obedience commands can be taught anywhere.
- With the correct motivation, you can teach your dog to do just about anything.
- Professional training classes can be helpful but aren’t always necessary.
What Your Dog Should Know After Basic Obedience Training
Your dog must successfully complete Basic Obedience Training before they can begin learning more advanced commands. This is because many of the more advanced training instructions build on these basic actions.
What commands should your dog know before you try to teach them advanced commands?
- Down (Lay Down)
If your pup has yet to master these five “basics”, you must continue to practice them. Attempting to push your dog into advanced obedience when they do not yet understand the basics will be frustrating and can deter your dog from wanting to continue their obedience training.
What is Advanced Obedience?
So, you’ve decided to teach your dog advanced obedience…but what exactly is “advanced obedience”?
The term is used to refer to any obedience command that ranks higher than your basic skills noted previously. Generally advanced obedience does not include specialized training commands; however, these are referred to by their field of specialization i.e.: gun dog training.
Before Teaching Obedience at Home
There are a few rules to keep in mind when teaching your dog obedience at home. These rules will set your dog up for success and make teaching easier for you.
- Keep training sessions short to keep your dog interested and avoid boring them. A bored dog (like a bored child) is not going to engage with you.
- Work on one command at a time to avoid confusion. It’s okay to work on a couple of commands in one session, but teach them one at a time instead of hopping back and forth between commands.
- Know what motivates your dog and use it to entice them to want to learn. For example, if your dog is motivated by food, use food as a reward when your dog successfully completes a command. This makes training a desirable event and encourages your dog to keep trying.
- Avoid training when you or your dog are distracted, tired, hungry, or frustrated. None of these situations are conducive to constructive teaching or learning.
- Make learning fun. If you’re teaching commands in a monotonous and boring tone, you can’t expect your dog to get excited to learn them.
- Practice, practice, practice! It’s the only way for commands to become second nature to your dog. Practice commands daily even when your dog knows them well!
- Never use punishment while training. Dogs respond to positive reinforcement. Punishment, however, makes training a negative experience for your dog.
Advanced Obedience Training, Environment Matters
Whether you decide to work on advanced obedience training at home or at a local ballfield, it’s important that the environment is conducive to learning.
- Avoid areas with a lot of distractions, for example, if the park is full of dogs don’t try to train your dog there.
- Stay away from noisy places, it makes it harder for your dog to filter out the background noise and hear your commands.
- Don’t try to train in an area that is too unfamiliar. Too much strange stimuli or new scents and sounds can distract or scare your dog making training next to impossible.
- Do not work with your dog in an area where they are exposed to anxiety-inducing or fear-inducing stimuli. Would you be able to focus on your education if you were scared or nervous?
Common Advanced Obedience Commands and How to Teach Them
While there is no specified set of advanced obedience commands, there is a group of commands that often fall into this category.
Teach your dog to pay attention to you with the “look” command.
- Hold a treat between your thumb and pointer finger.
- Now bring the treat up in front of your nose and hold still.
- Give your dog the “look” command.
- Hold for a few seconds then give your dog the treat and praise them.
- Repeat making sure only to give the treat and praise if your dog was paying attention and looking at “you”.
Teach your dog to leave the room with the “go” command.
- Leash your dog.
- Hold a treat between the thumb and pointer finger of your hand closest to your dog and hold their leash in the hand furthest from them.
- Have your dog sit beside you.
- Give the command “go” and lead your dog out of the room.
- Reward your dog with the treat and praise.
- Practice this command a few times on leash and then take off your dog’s leash and practice again.
- After your dog seems to grasp the command, try giving the command without taking your dog out of the room. Point out of the room and give the “out” command.
- Practice this until your dog can perform the command without assistance.
Teach your dog to stop what they are doing with the “no” command.
- Put your dog in a “down”.
- Take a treat and place it on the floor just out of their reach.
- Give your dog a “no” command when they go to take the treat. You may also need to touch their nose with the palm of your hand as if giving a “stop” hand signal if they get too close to the treat. Do not hit or strike your dog, simply place your hand as a barrier to the treat if they get too close.
- Your dog may sneak the treat a few times before they catch on to this command so it’s important to be patient!
- Continue practicing the command. Your aim is to have your dog look to you when you give them the “no” command. This means that they are looking to you for permission to take the treat.
- When your dog looks to you, you may take the treat and give it to them while giving them an “okay” command.
- Practice this command while slowly expanding the period of time that you ask your dog to wait before being allowed to take the treat.
Teach your dog to get off the furniture with the “off” command.
- When your dog is somewhere they should not be such as on the furniture, hold a treat between your thumb and pointer finger.
- Use the treat to lure them off the furniture while giving the “off” command.
- Give your dog the treat and praise them for getting off the furniture.
- You can practice this command by pairing it with the “on” command in which you use the treat to lure your dog on to something.
Teach your dog to go to a certain designated area (like their crate or bed) with the “place” command.
Decide on the one location you want to use for your dog’s place. Most people choose their dog’s crate or bed.
When teaching this command, you can replace the word “place” with “crate” “bed” or anything you like. Just be consistent with what you call this place.
- Have your dog sit in one room.
- Hold a treat between your thumb and pointer finger so that your dog can see it.
- Give the command “place” and use the treat to lead your dog to the specified place.
- When you get to the place put your dog in a “down” then reward them with the treat and praise.
- Practice this until your dog can perform it effortlessly.
The “leave it” command is sometimes used interchangeably with “no” but some owners like to use “leave it” to deter behavior rather than to stop it. For example, when approaching roadkill, you might use “leave it” to deter your dog before passing the roadkill. You might use “no” once your dog shows an active interest in the roadkill.
- To teach “leave it”, put your dog on their leash.
- Place a treat on the ground a few steps away from you.
- Walk with your dog so that they are close to the treat.
- When your dog pulls toward the treat or shows interest in the treat, give the “leave it” command and gently pull them closer to you putting more distance between them and the treat.
- When you have successfully moved a few steps away from the treat and your dog is no longer focused on the treat, reward them with praise and another treat.
- If your dog needs extra convincing while learning this command, use a second treat in your hand closest to your dog to keep their attention while giving the “leave it” command.
Teach your dog to load into your vehicle for a car ride with the “load up” command.
If your dog enjoys going for a ride in the car you may not need to use much motivation to get them to “load up”. You may find that simply saying the command each time your dog jumps into the car is enough to create a connection between the command and the action.
- If your dog seems slightly befuddled by the “load up” command, put your dog on their leash. Hold the leash in the hand closest to your dog.
- Approach the open vehicle with a treat between the thumb and pointer finger of the hand furthest from your dog.
- Hold the treat out in front of your dog and use it as a lure to entice your dog into the vehicle while giving the “load up” command.
Hush or Quiet
Teach your dog to be silent or stop barking with the hush or quiet command.
- Keep treats in your pocket or close by so that the next time your dog begins problem barking you can work with them.
- When your dog begins problem barking, take a treat between your thumb and pointer finger and use it to capture your dog’s attention.
- This is a training method known as “distraction”, you are moving your dog’s attention from the item they are barking at to the treat.
- Use the treat to hold your dog’s attention for a few seconds while giving the “quiet” or “hush” command.
- If your dog has managed to remain quiet while you were holding the treat, give them the treat and praise them.
- Practice this command while gradually increasing the time you make your dog wait before being given the treat.
- Keep commands to one word, two at most. Your dog’s brain is similar to that of a three-year-old, keep things simple.
- Use treats that your dog enjoys during training sessions but use only small pieces.
- Reward progress, no matter how small.
- Do not repeat commands obsessively. Give a command once, if your dog does not obey, show them the command again. (If you are asked to do something but you don’t understand what you’re being asked to do it doesn’t matter how many times someone asks, you still won’t know what is being requested of you.)
- Be consistent. Don’t change commands from one word to another, for example, many owners say “sit” and “sit down” interchangeably. This can create confusion, just keep it simple.
Training Should Be Fun for Both of You!
One of the most important things to keep in mind when working on advanced obedience training with your dog at home is to have fun! If you have fun teaching your dog, you will look forward to training sessions together. If you make the process of learning fun, your dog will look forward to training sessions too!