Dog Obedience Basics and Nutrition

These dog obedience tips are sponsored by Collective Bias, Inc., and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ProPlanPet #CollectiveBias

I love dogs; our dogs are treated as family and they’re expected to have behave just like any other member of the family. Just like kids, dogs and puppies don’t come pre-trained and according to Colorado dog trainer Lori Holmberg it’s important to teach them to respect you and to do as you ask. Today I’m going to discuss dog obedience and how it can make your time with your pet more enjoyable. Proper nutrition can play a roll in your dogs behavior. It is important to understand that finding a dog food formula right for your dog is important for their overall wellbeing, and it can be used as a training reward.

Dog Obedience

This is Chief; he is our trusted, lovable, and obedient companion. He tips the scales at nearly 100 lbs. Could you imagine how destructive a disobedient dog of that size might be? We live on a working farm, and he is around an array of livestock. We definitely couldn’t have a cattle chasing dog. He might seem intimidating, but he manages to steal the heart of everyone that he meets.

We haven’t owned him his entire life. He came to us last year after his previous owner could no longer keep him. One of the first things we did to establish dominance and gain his loyalty was to work through some basic obedience commands. Chief is expected to sit or lay down before we feed him, and he isn’t allowed to eat from his food bowl until we say it’s okay. Chief has a strong desire to please his owners, and will wait patiently on us to release him.

Purina Pro Plan

I would begin by selecting a high quality dog food with the proper ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fats such as Purina® Pro Plan. It has a great taste (according to my dogs) and Purina® Pro Plan® Savor has real chicken as the first ingredient. I use to own/show AKC Champion Rottweilers. My dog Naya lived to be 13 years old and she was fed Purina® Pro Plan®. She held numerous titles including Best of Opposite Sex at the Dogwood Rottweiler Club Specialty Show and she was an AKC Champion. In fact, the last 8 Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show Champions were fueled by Purina® Pro Plan®. It was also the food of choice for 93 of the Top 100 AKC All Breed Champions.

Dog Obedience

I generally teach commands in this order.

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stay

You need to decide whether you want to use a training clicker that making a popping noise or use a praise phrase such as “good boy/girl”. I generally mix my reward for correct behavior between physical praise and food. When working with Chief, I used a hand full of Purina® Pro Plan® Dog Food as my food reward. I also establish a release word such as “you’re done” or “we’re through” so my dogs understand when they’re released from a command.

Teaching the sit command:

  • Hold a piece of food/treat in front of your dogs face at least 12 inches higher than their nose, while saying sit.
  • It is a natural instinct for a dog to sit when they look directly up.
  • If your dog sits, use your praise phrase immediately and give your reward.
  • If your dog doesn’t sit you will need to manually adjust them to the sitting position.
  • You can grasp their collar with one hand, and press gently but firmly on their lower back.
  • When their hindquarters hit the floor, they should hear your praise phrase.
  • After they have been in the sitting position a few seconds, give them your release command, and reward.

Dog obedience

Teaching Down:

  • Place your dog in the sitting position.
  • Hold a piece of food/treat in your hand on the ground roughly 1 foot in front of your dog.
  • Give your dog the down command.
  • If they go into the down position, use your praise phrase.
  • If they do not go into the down position, you will have to manually put them in a down.
  • Do not use the collar to pull down.
  • You can gently but firmly press between their shoulder blades, while lowering a piece of food/treat in front of their nose toward the ground.
  • If your dog goes into the down position, say, “good down”.
  • When they have maintained the position a few seconds use your praise phrase and release command.

dog obedience


Stay is a very important command for many reasons. It can be utilized to protect the safety of your dog or a stranger. The stay command can also be used when feeding your pet, so that you can dispense food and water without having it knocked out of your hands (at least not by your dog). Making your dog stay or wait while you are preparing food teaches your dog to respect you. Your dog should be able to reliably stay/wait while anyone is setting their food bowl down.

Teaching the stay command:

  • I use the palm of my hand held flat in front of my dogs face as the hand signal for stay.
  • I always keep my dog leashed when I am teaching the stay command. It is easier to return them to their previous position when they are leashed.
  • Place your dog in the sit or down position.
  • Place your hand in front of their face and give the command, stay.
  • When your dog maintains position for a few seconds use the praise phrase, release, and reward.
  • If your dog breaks position give a firm verbal “no”, and gently but physically return them to the previous position.
  • I generally start with 5 second stays and progress in small increments up to 3 minutes.
  • Always remember to release your dog, praise, and reward.


Teaching food bowl manners:

  • When teaching your dog to wait for their food bowl, try to refrain from the stay command.
  • I generally place my dog in a sitting position and give them the command “wait”.
  • I prepare their food and sit it on the floor.
  • If they waited while I sat the food bowl down, I say, “Let’s Eat” and use my praise phrase.
  • If they move while your lowering the bowl, lift it back up.
  • I never release them to eat until they have politely waited for me to place the bowl on the floor.

Chief says, “Who needs a milk mustache when you can have a Purina® Pro Plan® one?” He’s a very happy boy with a full belly.



You can help reduce unwanted pet behaviors such as begging by feeding a high quality food with ingredients tailored toward the needs of your pet. Always discuss your pet food needs/options with your veterinarian. You can browse the entire line of Purina® Pro Plan foods on their website. The website contains details about their wet food, dry food, snacks, and supplement bars, and you can even get your dog’s MyPlan food recommendation.

Just remember these tips:

  • Don’t get frustrated. If you do get frustrated, stop your training session and begin again later.
  • Take baby steps. Don’t try to progress too fast.
  • Always use positive reinforcement and make it fun!

Finicky eater or afraid to make the switch? You can try Purina® Pro Plan free? Visit the Purina® Pro Plan® MyPLAN website to get your dog’s MyPLAN recommendation and a rebate offer for a free bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Dog Food (4-6lbs, up to $18.99.) Good only in U.S.A. A.P.O’s, F.P.O’s. Void where taxed, prohibited, restricted. Allow 6-8 weeks for shipment. LIMIT ONE REQUEST PER INDIVIDUAL, ADDRESS, or EMAIL ADDRESS. Offer expires 04/30/2015. Exclusions available here.

We purchase our Purina® Pro Plan® from our local PetSmart® location. They have a large selection of Purina® Pro Plan® products and I can browse/read labels on all of the formulas in person.

Available at PetSmart®

Have you ever taught your pet a command or any tricks? It really isn’t as hard as it might seem, and it will make your time with your pet so much more fun!


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1 Comment

  • Reply Jenna Wood 11/03/2015 at 5:37 pm

    Teaching ‘stay’ was the toughest for our pup- she doesn’t lie being far from her owners. We ended up having good sucess with ‘spot training,’ where she will not leave her bed/mat/rug or any other defined surface once she is placed on it. #client

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