Dog Obedience Training Secrets

Everyone wants an obedient and well-behaved dog, but dog obedience training is more than just treats and praise. Teaching your dog new things and maintaining their behavior after the treats go away is about utilizing many different concepts and principles to work with your dog.

In all of our dog training programs, we focus on addressing the source of a given unwanted behavior. When discussing basic dog obedience training, many of those same principles apply, because a well-behaved dog must have certain needs met for the most success.

If you are looking for extra help with your dog’s obedience training, we offer a number of different training programs for dogs of all kinds.

The Basic Behaviors

When I’m working with new dog training clients, I like to focus on having them utilize a few core basic behaviors. Sure, there are plenty more that are useful and even essential, but these first few provide you with a solid basis with your dog’s obedience. 

In addition to providing you with some key behaviors to keep your dog a bit more under control, these behaviors also give you the opportunity to get the hang of training your dog.

Some of the training principles we use with dogs can be a bit tricky to get the hang of, especially if you’re rusty in your training game! Teaching your dog these basics can help you establish a better bond with your pet and also get some practice with teaching before you move on to anything more complicated.


The obedience behavior of obedience behaviors! Nearly every dog knows a “sit.” It’s typically the first thing people teach their dogs and puppies and is usually the easiest thing for your dog to learn.

Granted, we’ve seen a handful of “oddballs” that just don’t seem to get the whole “sit” thing. That’s OK, our Ask The Trainer program can help you if your dog is a bit out of the ordinary when learning any of these behaviors and you need a bit of extra help.

Your dog’s sit is important because it provides the starting point for many other behaviors as well. You want to teach your dog a “down” or a “shake” from a sitting position in most cases.

It also provides you with a simple behavior that your dog can typically succeed with, allowing you to take a break from more complicated training to give your dog an easy task they can accomplish and avoid frustration.


Our “down” comes next. Teaching your dog a down behavior is beneficial because it is often the first behavior that your dog can’t guess what it is you want from them. The number of dogs and puppies that I’ve met that don’t really understand what “sit” means, but just guess what you want based on their past experience, numbers way up there!

Down is where you can really teach your dog to differentiate and focus on you. When your dog learns to pay close attention to what you say, and actually know the difference between two different commands, really creates the base of our obedience and gives us a great starting point in our dog training.


I like to teach a “stay” behavior from a down position. A dog that is laying down cannot get up and move quite as easily as a dog that is sitting or standing, which makes your chance of success that much more likely.

Many pet owners teach their dogs to “stay” incorrectly. A stay behavior should have your dog remain in place until you return to them, while a “wait” behavior should have your dog wait until you release them and they can move (either to you, out a door, etc.).

Teaching a stay can really help your dog learn how to control themselves. Once the concept clicks, your dog needs to be patient and await your return. This takes some serious self-control on the dog’s part!

These exercises improve your dog’s obedience in all other aspects as well, because we want a dog that is focused, patient, and can control their behavior even when they are excited.


Our final core behavior is our “wait.” The wait behavior, as discussed above, differs pretty significantly from a stay because we are releasing the dog from it when they are done. Where a dog in a “stay” is relaxed and anticipating your return, a dog in a “wait” is ready to spring and anticipating movement and excitement.

I often use a wait command when I am moving between different thresholds. Some examples include coming in and out of doors, moving inside or outside, and moving in or out of the car.

This allows you to control your dog’s movements and prevent door dashing and barging through when the dog should be patiently awaiting your command.

Where a “stay” teaches patience and self-control, a “wait” teaches both concepts at a much higher intensity level. A dog waiting in the car before jumping out and heading to the park has a much higher excitement level than a dog who is in a stay waiting for you to walk back to the living room and give them a treat.

As you could expect, this behavior polishes our dog’s ability to maintain control over themselves. Even in the most intense and exciting situations, we want our dog to pay close attention to us and listen to what we say. This final behavior allows you to fine-tune that skill so that your dog obedience training is at its peak.

Teaching your dog new things can involve a number of different concepts and training principles. In our dog training, we utilize positive reinforcement, but that involves more than just giving your dog a treat for sitting on command.

The process of teaching your dog something new, providing them with consistent feedback, and properly phasing out treats involves a lot of nuance and detail. In our training courses, we address how to train these behaviors and address phasing down food, as well as a number of other important concepts to your dog’s basic obedience training.

6 thoughts on “Dog Obedience Training Secrets”

  1. I am having problems with my dog nipping and now biting. He is excited to see other dogs on our walk, but when he goes up or they approach him, he nips. Just the other day, while giving him a treat, he dropped it. I proceeded to reach down and retrieve it. He lunged forward and bit me between my thumb and pointer finger. He bit hard and there was quite a bit of blood, I corrected him and avoided him for a long length of time. I want to stop this bad habit.

    • Hi Barbara, it sounds like you’re experiencing a few different issues, in leash walking and potential biting/nipping towards you. On anything bordering aggression we recommend using our Ask the Trainer program for personalized help. Aggression varies drastically from one dog to the next and it takes quite a bit of work back and forth to determine the circumstances and the best route for your pet!

  2. Hi, we have a 5 yr old Bichon named Piper, who barks at everything, including the local woodpeckers noise. She also will not come when called. What is the best you offer for these problems?


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