The K9 Companion class began as an entry level training course for dogs that are 6 months or older. The concepts, however, can be used for all ages of dogs including puppies. The class introduces you to reward-based training techniques that will help you communicate to your dog a basic vocabulary of commands and will strengthen the bond you have with your dog to help make him or her a better house companion. Please review all the weeks because information in latter weeks make be useful immediately. Certainly there are various sequences in which the exercises may be taught and you should do what works best for you and your K9 Companion.

Luring the Sit and Down

Luring is used to coax your dog into the position you’ll be teaching. There are a number of ways to teach the dog to follow your direction. Luring the dog with a treat is the most effective way to do this because it does not require you to touch your dog, which could distract him from what you are teaching. Nor does it require you to be physically forceful in any way to get him into the position. It also helps your dog to begin recognizing the hand motions, that will later become hand signals that you can use as a separate non-verbal command to instruct your dog. Besides, dogs are more body language oriented than verbal, so they understand things better when you communicate with your body instead of by words.


  • You understand how to MARK a behavior with YES the moment your dog offers the behavior to you.
  • You have discovered the rewards your dog considers valuable and have them available.
  • You have conditioned your dog to understand that YES means a treat is coming.

Luring the SIT:

Put your dog on a leash and stand (or kneel if you have a small dog) on the leash so your dog can only move a few feet from you. Get a treat in one hand and get his interest in the treat without giving the treat to him. Now, LURE your dog to SIT using the treat hand. Since you’re on top of your dog’s lead, he will not be able to move very far away. Put your treat hand, in front of you about six inches above your dog’s nose. Your dog should be somewhere in front of you by now, facing you, and eagerly awaiting the treat. Now move the treat hand away from your body, still keeping it about three to six inches above your dog’s nose. As his nose reaches upward toward the treat, move the treat over his head, along his spine, and back toward his tail. Since he can not go backward with you standing on his lead, his rear should end up on the ground. It’s as if you are drawing an invisible line from the dog’s nose to its tail in order to lure him into a sitting position. As soon as his rear-end hits the ground … MARK it and REWARD. Do NOT say SIT until your dog will follow the motion of your hand with the treat into a sitting position because your dog will not understand what the word means until you can have him sitting in that position. While your dog is allowing you to lure him into a seated position, he’s thinking of what you are guiding him to do, not of what you are saying. First, do a few repetitions luring your dog into the SIT position without saying the word. Once you have completed that successfully then say SIT prior to luring him into position. If your dog is having difficulty, try doing the luring motion faster or slower depending on your dog. Or maybe you need to lure with a better treat or it may be necessary to gently guide your dogs rear to the ground with your treat-free hand while luring your dogs nose upward with the treat hand. If your dog tries to leap for the treat it may be too far from his nose or if he is not following the treat try letting them nibble it a little more and move it again.

Luring the DOWN:
Now that you understand the process, DOWN should be simple to teach. Have your dog standing in front of you and kneel down. Move the hand with your treat into your dog between his front legs and down toward the floor. Let him nibble the treat while you lure his nose straight down between his front paws to the ground. You may need to use your free hand to keep some gentle pressure on his shoulders, back or rear-end so he does goes down. Your dog will be nibbling the treat between his front paws and when he drops down say YES and REWARD. As with the sit, say DOWN when your dog has successfully followed your direction a few times.

If things don’t go well don’t worry. Just start over and keep at it and you will get it in time. The key is to go slow teaching each thing. Keep calm and remain patient. You dog will sense your frustration or anger quickly and loose interest in playing training games with you. If either of you make a mistake it’s not a big deal, just do it again and try something a little different. Ty to trouble shoot by asking yourself what you could be doing differently to help your dog understand. Most dogs are eager to learn as long as you keep your patience and have a yummy treat in hand.