Teaching some basic dog commands to your pet is essential if you are going to have a stress-free life together. Basic commands are fairly easy to teach and come in handy in a variety of situations. Most of the behavioral problems dog owners experience develop as a result of not teaching these basic dog commands early in the dog's development.
Training your dog brings the two of you closer together and establishes you as the authority in the dog's world, which is important to ensuring good behavior. Your dog will feel insecure if you are not willing to be the leader. This insecurity will come out in bad behaviors. So it's essential to teach a few basic dog commands.
I've created separate articles for some of these basic dog commands:
Now I'm going to discuss a few of other basic dog commands you can teach: "Leave It," "Wait" and "Drop It." These are extremely useful, especially for Jack Russells. Any dog that has a habit of picking up random objects or bolting suddenly will benefit greatly from learning these commands.
"Leave It" Dog Command
"Leave It" is very useful for a dog who likes to go rummaging through rubbish or nosing around in areas that are off-limits. The purpose is to get the dog to leave whatever she's just discovered alone.
The method for teaching Leave It involves taking away something the dog treasures for a moment, then giving it back. You should know by this time what your dog's favorite thing is, be it food or a particular toy.
Take away the food or toy, and give the verbal command "Leave It." When the dog gives up trying to get it back, give a reward, and then give the food or toy back. Rinse and repeat, and slowly phase out the rewards until the dog can Leave It on command, with no reward.
This is best taught when the dog is a puppy. With a fully-grown Jack Russell that hasn't been properly socialized and trained as a pup, you may find that when you try to take its favorite toy you're met with aggression. This problem requires a more advanced solution. My ebook, The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training, can help you solve this issue.
"Wait" Dog Command
Many dog owners have trouble with dogs that want to bolt ahead of them constantly. This is a big problem with Jack Russells, and can be a serious problem if they happen to bolt right into a busy street. Teaching the dog to Wait is the answer to this problem.
Wait is really just an extension of the Stay command. It's meant to keep the dog fixed in one spot even though you are moving away.
Teach this command near a dog, gate or around a corner of your house. There needs to be some kind of barrier between the two of you. Get the dog to "Sit and "Stay" first, and then walk through the door and around the corner, using the "Wait" command as you go. If the dog makes an attempt to move, repeat the "Stay" command. If she tries to follow, close the door or gate behind you. Repeat the exercise and before long your dog will start to get the idea.
When the dog successfully manages to wait while you walk away or disappear around a corner, call "Come," reward, and praise.
To find out how to use this command to create special "off limits" areas of your house, take a look at my training ebook.
"Drop It" Dog Command
This command can be taught at the same time you're teaching a dog the Fetch command. The two are interlinked. Often your dog will pick up objects that you don't really want it to have in its mouth. What's worse, when you try to get it back, the dog tries to play hide and seek. To stop this you need to teach the Drop It command.
This is fairly simple. If you want to teach the dog to Fetch as well, follow the guidelines on the
page. If not, simply do the following:
When you see your dog carrying an object it shouldn't have, use the Come or Sit command. Give you dog plenty of praise when it does what it's told. Now, you can't just take the object away - this will teach your dog that if it Comes or Sits when it has an object, it's going to lose it. That's not what we want. Instead you should use the "Drop" command, take the object away, reward, and then replace it with a more suitable object like a toy. It's very important that you exchange for something else the dog values.
Whatever you do, don't chase a dog when it's carrying something you want back. First of all, dogs will repeat behaviors that get attention, good or bad. This is especially so with Jack Russells. So if you make a fuss, the dog will keep doing it. On top of that, the dog will start to think it's a game - a competitive game. Unless you already have a great bond with the dog, this could lead to problems in the relationship where everything you do with your dog becomes a contest of wills.
As always, be patient and persistent when teaching basic dog commands and the results will eventually show.
There are a lot of common mistakes owners make when they try to trian their Jack Russells. I've developed an outline of the ten biggest mistakes owners tend to make. This is available as a free special report down: click here to find out more.