How to train your dog

Tips and videos on how to best train your dog.

Have you recently got a new dog or trying to see if the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is correct?

Follow RACQ’s pet training series featuring advice from Animal Welfare League Queensland and teach your dog a range of behaviours including how to sit, touch, target, stand, drop, roll, spin and shake.

Sit

  1. Begin this exercise by holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose.
  2. Move the treat upwards and forwards, so your hand moves towards your dog’s eyes and ears.
  3. When you move the treat in this manner, your dog will have no choice but to sit to follow the treat. 
  4. Reinforce the correct behaviour by saying “yes” as your dog sits and then release the treat.
  5. Once your dog is easily lured into the position, add the “sit” command, one second before luring the dog into position. 
  6. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “sit” command. 

Touch

  1. Hold your palm out with a maker and ask your dog to touch. You can use a coaster, post-it note or other similar objects as a marker.
  2. Once the dog touches the marker, reinforce the behaviour with a “yes” and release the treat. 
  3. Every three or four touches, you should swap hands, so your dog never knows which hand the treat will come from. 
  4. Once your dog is easily lured into touching, add the “touch” command, one second before your dog touches the marker. 
  5. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “touch” command. 

Target

  1. Place a tile or marker on the ground and place some food under it. 
  2. As the dog paws at it, reward the touch on the tile straight away with a “yes” and a treat.
  3. Encourage your dog to stop once they have hit it once. 
  4. Once your dog is easily lured into touching the target, add a “target” command one second before your dog hits the target. 
  5. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “target” command. 

Stand

  1. Begin this exercise by holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose. 
  2. Move your hand forwards so that your hand moves away from your dog.
  3. When you move the treat in this manner, your dog will have no choice but to stand to follow the treat.
  4. Move the treat just enough so that your dog’s hind legs are straightened. 
  5. When your dog is in the stand position, reinforce the behaviour with a “yes” and release the treat. 
  6. Once your dog is easily lured into the position, add the “stand” command one second before luring your dog into position. 
  7. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “stand” command. 

 

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Drop

  1. Begin this exercise by holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose. 
  2. Move your treat downwards so that your hand moves towards the middle of your dog’s front legs. 
  3. When you move your hand in this manner, your dog will have no choice but to lie down to follow the treat. 
  4. Reinforce the behaviour by saying “yes” and releasing the treat as soon as your dog lays down. 
  5. If your dog has trouble following the lure, try releasing the treat halfway down and gradually move it lower until you can get your dog into the drop position. 
  6. Once your dog is easily lured into the position, add the “drop” command one second before luring your dog into position. 
  7. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “drop” command. 

Roll

  1. Ask your dog to get into the drop position. 
  2. In the drop position, lure the dog’s head to the shoulder with a treat.
  3. Keep the movement tight and small around the head. 
  4. You may gently encourage the dog to roll by giving it a little push on the body in the right direction. 
  5. Reinforce the behaviour with a “yes” and release the treat once the roll is completed. 
  6. Once your dog is easily lured into a roll, add the “roll” command one second before luring your dog into position. 
  7. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “roll” command. 

Spin

  1. Have your dog in the stand or sit position.
  2. Stand on the spot and make your dog spin like it’s chasing its tail by place the food on the nose and luring into the position of a spin. 
  3. Reinforce the behaviour with a “yes” and release the treat once the spin is completed.
  4. Once your dog is easily lured into a spin, add the “spin” command one second before luring your dog into position. 
  5. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “spin” command. 

 

Shake

  1. Place a treat on the nose of your dog.
  2. Lure their head over one shoulder with the treat. 
  3. As the head turns to get the food, you will find the opposite foot will lift off the ground. 
  4. Use this as your guide to take the foot in your hand and make a big deal of shaking it. 
  5. Reinforce the behaviour with a “yes” and release the treat once the shake is completed.
  6. Once your dog is easily lured to shake, add the “shake” command one second before luring your dog into position. 
  7. Keep practising with a treat until your dog completes with just a lure and “shake” command.