How many tricks or commands does your dog know? Sure “fetch” is great and “roll over” is adorable for Instagram videos, but there are some tricks every dog really should know. These aren’t just tricks, but essential tools that need to be in every pup’s repertoire to keep him safe in everyday situations. The next time you’re breaking out the dog treats and have an hour or so to teach your dog a new trick, keep these in mind. It could be the difference between a peaceful day at the park and a risky situation.
5 Basic Training Commands Every Dog Should Learn
Sitting is the first command most dogs learn, but you shouldn’t take it for granted. Training your dog to sit patiently can help diffuse many situations. If your dog is properly trained to sit, he won’t jump up on guests that enter your home, or you when you’re about to give him a tasty treat. As an added bonus, teaching your dog to sit makes posing for photos that much easier. Smile!
Of course, our dogs want to follow us everywhere, they love us, and we love them. But there are some situations in which we do not want an escort, such as out to get the mail, or to take the trash out. Training your dog to keep away or stay where he is can be the deciding factor between just a spilled puddle of punch and paw prints all over the house, for instance. Stay is a basic command, but one that comes in handy.
Honing your dog’s recall, or his willingness to come when called, is essential for any off leash situation. Of course you should only have your dog off leash in fenced in areas such as a dog park, but even where there is a fence your dog must know to come when you need him. If there is a dangerous situation in the park, such as an aggressive dog (or even a human), having a strong recall is a lifesaver. God forbid your dog ever gets out of the house off leash and takes off, but a good foundation in training to come when called will help you retrieve your outlaw pooch.
Leave it is simply the command to tell your dog to leave something alone. The “leave it” command is very useful to know for a variety of situations that could become unsafe otherwise. Say you’re pouring a pill out of a bottle and it drops to the floor. A dog with a firm grasp of “leave it” can be thwarted from gobbling up your prescription. It’s also a magnificently useful command if you have a dog that loves gross smelly things he may find out on your daily walks. Dead squirrel? Leave it, please.
If you need your dog’s attention in a hurry, he needs to know the “watch me” command. If you have a boisterous dog that flips out when he sees another dog, you can combine commands and have him sit and watch you (look at you). When his attention is on you, it’s not on whatever situation he was freaking out over.
Whether you are enlisting the help of a trained professional, or a DIY doggy trainer, these five commands are absolute must-haves for your canine companion’s education. A well-trained dog will have even the least fido-friendly people in your life thrilled to hang out at your house. Training is also a great way to keep your dog’s mind healthy and active, all while strengthening the bond you have as pet and owner. Just remember to be kind, patient, and pack plenty of treats to say “good dog” afterward.