Training your dog.

COMMANDS- and how to give them.

by Dennis Fisher

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs


Your voice and the tone you use is very important indeed in obedience training and you should take full advantage of using it correctly.


There are basically only a few words that your dog needs to understand and it is important to use them in a way that is likely to bring the best response from the dog.


 There are six basic words that you are going to use over and over again in dog training they are the following:




From a practical point of view the most important of the six is the               word COME. 


Nothing can be more frustrating that going for a walk with your dog, letting him run in a  field, asking him to come and  then watching quite helplessly, while he completely ignores you; turns around occasionally to see if you are there and then carries on doing what he wants to, quite oblivious to your presence.


Because the COME is such an important part of training, I am going to reproduce here an article I wrote recently about tips  you can use to encourage your dog to come immediately you call:


How to train a dog to come when called. A useful dog training tip.

By Dennis Fisher.


Training your dog to come immediately you call is one of the most important and satisfying aspects of dog training. It can also be the most frustrating feature of training if you don’t approach the training process correctly.


A dog that returns to you immediately you call is a delight. A dog that carries on doing what it wants to and completely ignores your command can be a maddening experience.


How do you  make sure that you dog returns to quickly and willingly immediately you call?


As simple as the answer is, many people who have not had much experience training dogs find it surprisingly difficult.  The secret is to make the experience so pleasant for the dog that it comes to you with tremendous enthusiasm.


There are a number of ways this can be done.  The method I’m going to describe in this article is a basic method you can use if your dog has had virtually no training at all. Later in these series of dog training articles you will find slightly more advanced methods.


Go to a field, preferably one that is  fenced in some way, and have a friend accompany you.  Walk together on to the field with your friend and your dog on leash.   Then hand the leashed dog to your friend and run a distance away, about fifty yards.


When you are about 50 yards away from your friend and  your leashed dog, which will probably be straining to get to you, call the dog by name, clapping your hands enthusiastically and shouting out:   “ROGER COME!” as pleasantly and as excitedly as you can.

When the dog comes bounding towards you, make a tremendous fuss of the animal, expressing enthusiastic and extravagant praise.   Repeat this process a number of times.

The whole point of the exercise, obviously, is to make the dog WANT to come back to you. By your excited attitude you will make the dog extremely keen to come immediately you call.

The reward for the dog is your extravagant praise, repeating it’s name over and over accompanied with the “THAT’S A GOOD DOG!” as enthusiastically as you can.

Once you have done this a number of times on different occasions, you will have established the basic routine. At this stage of training no food reward is necessary.  Your enthusiastic praise is all that is necessary to encourage your dog to come quickly back to you.

As mentioned, this is the basic method to use where your dog has had very little training. In subsequent articles more advanced training methods will be set out.

Advanced training methods include a number of  tricks and also the use of good to make the dog come to you and sit straight in front of you before returning to heel, but this falls outside the scope of this present discussion.

The  word COME  is also a very good word from the point of sound, as are most of the other five basic commands.   SIT can be used very expressively, with the correct tone of voice as can the word  STAND which has a sound that can be easily stretched out. 

 This also applies to the word  DOWN.  This word is certainly not stretched out in training it is expressed very much as a command.  It is an easy word to say and when you say it there must be no suggestion of a request.  You have told the dog to DOWN and it must drop like a stone immediately.

In training you have the advantage of training collar and a lead in your hand and when you are training the dog to go DOWN you can accompany your command with a very definite tug on the leash an force the dog to obey immediately.

It is of the greatest importance that the dog does listen immediately.  I was once able to save the life of a fox terrier that I owned, while still at school, by making use of the command DOWN  when the dog was running into the street in the face of oncoming traffic.

One English word that is not as effective as the others, because of the soft sound is the word HEEL.

It is not an easy word to say with much conviction. Nevertheless most dogs seem to respond to word quite adequately. The German word “Fuss” however is much more expressive.

As far as reprimands are concerned, the word NO is as effective in English as any other training command in any other language.   Here again, it is the tone that is of the greatest importance.

 If it is necessary to reprimand the dog, the word NO  expressed with conviction will work if the dog is absolutely convinced that it is not a request to stop doing what is unacceptable to you.