7 Commands Every Dog Must Know
Training your dog is not just a matter of him or her having good house manners – it can also mean the difference between life and death. The seven most important commands to teach your dog, as well as tips for training, are discussed below.
Why is “sit” such an important command? When your dog is getting ready to jump on a new person that walks into your home, asking for “sit” can keep all four of your dog’s feet on the ground. In addition, by utilizing “sit” as a pre-requisite for other daily rewards, such as going outside or having the food bowl set down at dinner time, this simple command can create a well-behaved dog.
Not only can “stay” be useful during an unexpected situation (such as a broken dish in the kitchen), teaching your dog how to stay also reinforces independence. Dogs with a strong sense of the word “stay” are also less likely to suffer from debilitating anxiety disorders, such as separation anxiety.
Every dog owner has been there: one moment you are peacefully walking with your pet on a nice day, and the next you hear the unmistakable crunch of your dog eating an unidentified object. This situation can lead to gastrointestinal distress, especially if your dog has a sensitive stomach. When your pet is first learning the “drop it” command, always have an arsenal of tasty treats that your pup would prefer, in order to reinforce that following the rules leads to an even better reward.
Similarly, “leave it” is a necessary command that can keep your dog from ingesting or going near anything that might cause her harm. A good example is when you spill something toxic in the kitchen, such as a bag of chocolate chips or a bowl full of raisins. Teaching this command can be difficult, so it is important to always generously reward your pet anytime she shows improvement.
Perhaps one of the most important commands your dog will learn is “come.” If your pet ever escapes your house, yard, or leash, a rock solid recall may be the only difference between your dog running onto a busy road or returning to your side. When teaching a pet to come on command you should always make training fun. For instance, run away from your dog and have him or her chase you while you say the command. Or, teach your dog “come” while playing fetch by using the command whenever your pet runs toward you. Never use “come” for anything your dog may not find enjoyable, such as a bath or nail trim.
There will be plenty of instances that will arise during your dog’s lifetime will not be covered by the simple commands learned during obedience training. However, you will still need a way to communicate with your dog about appropriate behavior. This is where “yes” and “no” are important. Whenever your dog behaves favorably, say “yes!” before giving your pet a treat to instill the positive association with the word. Whenever your dog behaves poorly (i.e. barking at the mailman) say “no!” before issuing a correction.
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