How to Make a Dog Obey a Command Like Stop

by Elton Dunn
With regular practice, she'll learn to leave food and household objects alone.

With regular practice, she'll learn to leave food and household objects alone.

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

However you call it, a command like "Stop" can be lifesaving to a dog. You may stop her from running after a squirrel into the street or from eating a toxic item on the floor. Regular positive reinforcement training using a clicker helps your dog learn "Stop," "Off" or "Leave it."

Step 1

Hold a treat in your hand so your fingers cover it and allow your pup to sniff. You'll be using this tasty incentive to train her in stop commands.

Step 2

Give your chosen command, such as "Leave it" or "Off."

Step 3

Continue to hold the treat and wait until your pup backs off just a bit. Keep your fingers over the cookie until he backs away. Click the clicker when your pup backs away to let her know she's done the right thing.

Step 4

Offer your pup the treat. Right now she doesn't associate the word with the treat reward—but she will.

Step 5

Practice this a bit more to reinforce the concept.

Step 6

Leash your dog for the next step in training. With your dog on a leash, drop a cookie on the floor. Since you are holding one end of the leash, she can't get the food.

Step 7

Give the command and gently tug the leash to move your pup away from the fallen treat. Click the clicker as she backs away. Since she associates the clicker with being rewarded, this again reinforces the desired action.

Step 8

Reward your dog with a treat after you've backed away from the fallen treat.

Step 9

Continue to practice this until it becomes learned behavior for your pup. Work with different items, such as toys, shoes and other objects. Try your training in different parts of the home and outside. When she can leave the treat alone on a leash without your pulling her back, try off-leash training.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Clicker
  • Leash

Tips

  • Try incorporating two treats into the training, a yummy treat and a really special treat. When your dog backs away from the everyday yummy treat, reward her with the more tasty item. This teaches her that by leaving things alone when you give the stop command, she'll get something she likes better!
  • Some dogs get really tempted and can ignore the stop command. If your dog shows a weakness in a certain area, such as outside when she wants to chase squirrels, put a leash on and practice the command leashed until she gets more obedient.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Elton Dunn is a freelance writer with over 14 years experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, technology, beauty and fashion writing. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from Emerson College.

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