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Dog Training at Home: How to Teach a Dog to Sit, Lay Down, and Stay for Photos

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

Whether you are pausing your walk to snap a quick photo of your dog with your phone, or you have an elaborate setup with props and costumes at home, your dog's knowledge of a few easy commands can turn a potentially frustrating situation with blurry photos into a successful photo session with lots of beautiful, clear pictures to choose from.

I find that an understanding of (1) sit, (2) down, and (3) stay are vital for stress-free photography sessions.

Can I Train My Dog Myself?

The answer is yes! Sit, down, and stay are foundational commands that can be taught at home at any time whether you have a young puppy or senior dog. No expensive dog training class required! In fact, your home is the best environment to teach your dogs as this is where they will be expected to apply what they have learned.

Video - Dog Training at Home: Introduction

Dog Training Methods

There are many ways to train a dog to follow commands. I have tried physically assisting the dog, using treats as lures, hand signals, verbal commands, and clickers.

Over the years I have settled on a positive reinforcement dog training method that includes verbal commands, hand signals, and treats.

Video - Dog Training at Home: Methods

Length of Dog Training Session and Using Dog Treats as Lures

How Long Should a Dog Training Session Be? When starting out, training classes should only be for a few minutes. For my dogs, I started out with very short sessions - five minutes before playtime or dinner. As they got more comfortable with a learning environment and began picking up more commands, the length of the training sessions increased.

How Many Dog Treats Can I Give My Dog? It depends on the size of your dog. You can use any kind of food that your dog sees as a special treat for a lure, but I recommend either buying bite sized dog training treats or breaking a larger treat into small bites. To determine how much to give your dog, read the back of the package's label. It is important that the training treat is small enough so that the dog does not fill up quickly on food or overindulge. Keep the treats handy in a pocket or in a training pouch.