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Getting your dog back into training

Have you been away from training for a while? Here are some tips to get you back into training mode!


There are ten core exercises/concepts that all dogs should be taught:  

  1. Marker words to know when they have got it right (and when they will get a reward) and another word to know when you have finished the exercise (a terminating cue).
  2. Statics – such as sit, down, stand – to help them to stop or prevent jumping up on you or others.
  3. Stay/wait (stay there).
  4. Settle (on a bed or blanket or wherever told).
  5. Leave (don’t touch or give if you have it).
  6. Pay attention (listen to me, watch me).
  7. Walk on a loose lead (not pulling on a lead).
  8. Come back when called.
  9. Stop when told.
  10. Play – enjoy playing with a toy – games like fetch, find, tug are all good.


Enrichment – include some exercises that will appeal to your dog’s natural behaviours. Nosework is a must for all dogs – it is so all-engaging; they use lots of mental and physical energy and they will love you even more for helping them enjoy their noses!

Reality check – When you go back to basics and train the core ten as above, are you sure your dog knows them well – will they do them when you need them to? Make sure your training includes the gradual addition of real distractions so that your dog is prepared for all eventualities. Help them to get it right – you are not out to trick your dog, just to give them the skills to be the best dog they can be.

In conclusion, stay safe - When you do venture out take it carefully and gradually – keep your dog on a lead or use a long line to ensure your dog and others’ safety in a public place. Social distancing with your dog has never been so important, but it’s good manners at any time. Not everyone will appreciate your dog’s attention even if they are friendly. Be alert!

Please note: there are many different ways to train your dog. This is just one method of teaching. If you are ever in doubt, please seek professional advice. 

For more information and advice, you can find a puppy foundation course with The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme or browse our full list of The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors or find a dog training club near you.