Good Manners (Foundation) Training

At BDAG, good manners training is undertaken in our Introduction and Foundation Classes.  All training provided at BDAG is motivational,  force-free and fear free.

Good manners or foundation training ranges from very basic training, such as teaching the dog to respond to basic requests like “sit”, “drop”, “come”, and “stay”, and up to high level competition standards within clubs, where additional behaviours*  along with accuracy and performance are scored and judged.

Good manners training is about the dog willingly complying with the direction or request given by the handler.   For a dog to be considered well-trained he/she must respond reliably each time its handler requests a behaviour.

Training a dog to achieve fully reliable foundation behaviours can be an ongoing and lengthy process depending on the dog, the methods used, and the skill and understanding of both the trainer and the handler.   The level of reliability the handler wishes to achieve with the dog, along with the handler’s commitment to training are also  significant factors in the time involved.

Foundation or good manners training is a prerequisite for other training such as Rally Obedience, Agility, Flyball etc.

* behaviour means an action your dog does – for example a sit, recall or jump.  Your dog already knows how to do most behaviours we would request – the training challenge is how to get him to do them when asked and with precision – and that’s often a mix of effective communication and reinforcement from you.

Basic behaviours

Sit The dog is in a sitting position.
Down or Drop A dog is typically down when its elbows (front feet) and hocks (rear legs) are touching the ground or floor.
Heel The dog’s head or shoulder is parallel to the handler’s leg on the left side of the handler.
Come or Here (referred to as the recall) “Call your dog” equals “come” or “here”.
Stay The dog must remain in the position (sit, down, stand) and location under which the command was given until it is released by the handler.

Advanced behaviours

Stop A dog that will simply stop whatever it is doing and lie down on command no matter how far it is from its keeper is a dog that can be taken anywhere.
Back up Keepers of large dogs or dogs with a reputation for aggressiveness can make strangers more comfortable by teaching the dog to back up on command.
Shake Directs the dog to shake whole body. Generally used after bathing or swimming to prevent dog from soaking owner.
Shake Hands  Directs dog to lift paw and place it in the hand of the owner as if shaking hands.
Steady Keep nearby. The dog can walk free, but not dash off.
Stand Dog stands still. Useful for grooming and showing, or vet examinations. Many dogs are groomed frequently and need to stand quietly during the process.
Go to bed, mat, crate or kennel Directs the dog to go to its bed or its crate and to remain there until released. The dog has freedom of movement in that location to stand up, turn around, or lie down, unlike when placed in a Stay. Useful to keep a dog out from underfoot and safe in a busy or complicated situation.
Drop it (or give it)
Dogs pick up all sorts of things, some of which they shouldn’t have. A dog that drops anything on command, no matter how attractive (and “attractive” to a dog can be “rotten and smelly” to a human), is a dog under control that the owner can prevent from eating dangerous items or from destroying valued personal property.
Leave it Directing the dog to not touch an item. Also useful before the dog has picked anything up. Leave it is also used in conjunction with Take it.
Take it The dog leaves a desired object, such as a toy or treat, untouched until given this command. Alternatively, the dog takes and holds an object which it has no interest in. This can protect the fingers of an owner, visitor or child.
Give The dog has an object in its mouth and “gives” it to its owner by releasing the object into the owner’s hand. Object of choice in training is usually a light-weight dumbbell or a glove. This is useful for when your dog has one of your belongings and you want it back before the dog hides it or chews it up.
Speak A dog, when taught this command, will bark or vocalize when asked to do so.
Roll Over When taught this behaviour  a dog will lie down, roll over – often taught in both directions
Fetch A dog will retrieve a thrown object (usually a ball or a stick) and bring it back to the one who threw it.
Place The dog is trained to go to a certain place and stay there until released, usually a place in the house selected by owner.
With me Used when walking your dog to keep them at your side and with your pace.


View other types of training: ♦ Obedience   ♦ Agility   ♦ Flyball   ♦ Rally   ♦ Tricks