The most important things to teach your dog are designed to ensure you have a good housemate and you can live together in harmony, and of course, that your dog is safe.  As with anything in life, training is not a quick job and requires patience and knowledge to ensure you are doing it correctly to get the best outcome. If in doubt, there are many books on the subject, online resources are useful, but you can also employ the services of a professional.  

Daily routines

Routines provide reassurance for puppies and dogs, and consistency in your household.  Here’s some examples of simple routines that should be maintained from the get-go:

  • keep food and water in the same place,
  • feeding should take place at approximately the same times each day
  • keep the bed in one spot, don’t move it around the house
  • get him up and to bed at the same time each day
  • keep toys in one spot so he knows where to find them

House training

Also part of daily routines, letting him out often and giving him his “place” to do his business. If you are consistent he will eventually get the hang of things.  But never shout at your dog after he has had an accident – he will not have a clue as to what he has done wrong – you always need to catch him in the act, and then put him in his special place so he knows what to do.

The two most important words

The two most important words are NO (stop whatever you are doing) and GOOD (I like what you are doing).  These form the basis of all future training and should be started at 2 to 3 months of age. However even if your dog is older, you should still start with these two basic commands.

To be understood you need to use these words consistently.  Don’t interchange words, for example “NO” with “BAD”. Also make sure the whole family uses the same commands, to avoid confusion for the dog.  Here’s some more tips on how to teach these most important words.

Who’s the boss?

Well this one is up for debate.  But many trainers believe that it’s very important that you don’t let the dog rule the roost.  This is just about being assertive and doesn’t involve any aggressive or angry behaviour towards the dog.  Remember your dog will do just about anything to please you, he just needs to know what you are asking for.


For your dog to be safe you have to be confident that he will respond to recall.  So when you tell him STOP, COME, etc he will obey you. With this command, you can stop him running over the road, or being distracted by other dogs and or events going on around him.


This is about ensuring your dog can cope with people, distractions and other dogs, so you can be confident that he is calm and comfortable in all sorts of environments and situations.

Sadly the most common reason given for abandoning a dog is down to “behavioural issues” which basically means that, through no fault of it’s own, the dog is not properly trained.  Having a well trained dog means happy dog and happy owner – which also means the dog is less likely to end up abandoned.

The joy of having a pet in your life cannot be under-estimated, but you do have to put in some work to get the best out of your pet!

Responsible Pet Ownership

What it all comes down to in the end is being a responsible pet owner.  A dog is for a lifetime, and a lifetime can be up to around 15 years, or even older, so teaching your dog a few commands can make all the difference in the pleasure of having your dog as part of your family for many years.  You will also need to take care of your dog’s health, and that is where pet insurance can help with the cost.  Get a quick quote and see how affordable it can be to have the peace of mind of knowing that you will be able to take care of your pet for a lifetime.

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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.