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It’s National Dog Training Month! Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to train your dog? Maybe it should be! You don’t have to pay for expensive obedience school to improve your communication with your pet; teach your dog a few commands yourself!

Next to each trick you will see the Paw Scale of Difficulty to teach!


  1. Come 

    • Start with a leash and collar on your dog
    • Calmly say “come” while crouched at your dog’s level and gently tug on the leash
    • Reward your dog with affection and even a treat when he gets to you
    • After this command is familiar, practice safely off-leash in an enclosed area
  2. Sit         

    • Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose
    • Move your hand up and slightly behind your dog’s face so that her head comes up and her back end lowers.
    • Once your dog is sitting, immediately give her the treat saying “sit” and praise her
  3. Down   

    • Lower your hand to the floor holding a treat in your closed fist
    • Say “down”
    • Once he is in the down position, continue to say “down” and reward with the treat and with praise.
    • If he tries to snatch the treat from your hand or sit up, calmly say no and remove your hand. Try again!
  4. Stay       

    • Master the “Sit” command
    • Open your hand in front of you in a “stop” motion and say “stay”
    • Step backwards and reward your dog with a treat and affection if she stays
    • Repeat this step and gradually step farther and farther before giving the treat.
    • Remember to praise your dog with affection and even a treat when she obeys the command, even for a few seconds. It takes practice!
  5. Off        

    • Whenever your pet jumps on a person, resist petting him until he is back on the ground.
    • Never forcefully push your dog or yell at him.
    • Command “Off” and praise your dog when he removes his paws from the counter or jumps down from the couch.

Consistency is important, as well as a calm and patient attitude. Be sure to avoid being forceful or aggressive with your dog when he misbehaves. Instead calmly say “no” and give the proper command. Immediately praise and reward good behavior.