Basic tips on how to have a well behaved dog at home -Dr Nelson Bukamba


Many middle class Ugandans have gone in for dogs as Pet companions or for security reasons.

We have some few reputable dog trainers even though some individuals would wish to have a few tips of starting off with their pets or security dogs to be checked out under obedience and loyalty.

Training a dog can be started at any age, the sooner the better. You can start simple training with your puppy as soon as he has settled into his new home. Older dogs are also receptive to training, although some may be less keen or less quick to learn than a younger dog.

Five basic commands that are useful for your dog to know are; sit, down, stay, and come.

1) Have your dog standing in front of you.

2) Show him that you have a food treat in your hand.

3) Slowly move your hand and treat above and over his head towards his tail, as you give
the command “sit”.

4) His head should go up as he tries to reach the treat, and his bottom should go down into the ‘sit’ position.

5) Give him the treat and praise him. Do not push his bottom down to make him sit, as he is likely to push up against your hand as a result and this may hurt his back. When training your dog to sit, use the command “sit”. Does not use “sit down” as this may confuse your dog when you try to teach the ‘down’ command.

1) Ask your dog to sit and show him the treat (food) in your hand.

2) Slowly move your hand down towards the ground in front of him (just in front of his feet), as you use the command “down”. He should follow your hand with his nose and lay down.

3) Give him the treat and praise him.

If you have trouble getting him to lie down in this way, put an object such as a coffee table or a chair between you and your dog and try again. He will have to lie down to get under the barrier to get the treat. Remove the barrier when he gets the hang of it. Do not push or force his back down as he will push against you and this may hurt his back.

1) Ask him to sit or lay down.

2) Take one step away from him as you command him to “stay”. Silently count to three.

 3) Step back to him, treat and praise.

 4) If he gets up, ask him to sit again and repeat the procedure.

Once he is doing this short ‘stay’ command correctly, gradually increase the distance between you and your dog and/or the time that he is asked to stay. If he gets up when he is not
supposed to, go back a stage to a shorter distance or time, and then increase again slowly
until he is doing as he is told every time.


  1. Feed your dog normally (preferably at least twice a day) – if you are worried that your
    dog may be overweight, reduce the size of his main meals slightly during the training
  2. Find treats that he really likes e.g. small pieces of liver, chicken, hotdog sausage or
  3. Pop some treats in your pocket and at random times when you are in the same room
    together, call him to you in a happy voice and give him a treat. After he has finished his
    treat, say something like “good dog – off you go!”
  4. Repeat this frequently during the day, for a few days, until he is coming to you quickly
    every time.

Tips for better success

  1. Never train when he’s really hungry – this can make him frustrated and it’ll be difficult for him to concentrate. If using the command “come” hasn’t worked up to now, this is a good time to change it. 
  2. Try “here” or perhaps even a whistle which can be easier for a dog to hear when out on the park. Once you choose a new command you must stick to it, or you’ll confuse your dog and he may never learn what you really want him to do.


  • Let your dog get bored – stop immediately if you see this happening.
  • Tell him off if he gets it wrong.
  • Shout or physically punish him – it will make him scared of you and may cause him to
    become aggressive.
  • Train him if he is tired or hungry – it’ll make him frustrated and he won’t enjoy training.
  • Chase him when you want him to come – he’ll think it is a great game and will run away even more.
  • Do your early training in an area with lots of distractions, such as other dogs, people, noises, smells.
  • Expect too much too soon.
  • Expect him to understand a command until you have taught him what it means.