5 Essential Commands
Expert Advise, by James Longhofer
Certified Master Dog Trainer,
Waggers Dog Daycare
5 ESSENTIAL commands your dog needs to master
We all hear business’ saying “Safety is our # 1 concern”. At Wagger’s, we have a huge responsibility keeping your babies safe and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. I’m often asked which commands are the most important for a dog to master, and my response is always the same – your dog needs to listen to you. Although it’s stimulating and fun for your dog to learn a few tricks to impress your friends, the following 5 commands are essential for their safety and your security.
Come – arguably the most important command your dog will ever know, come asks your dog to return to you on demand. This command is a critical, lifesaving skill. Does your dog come every time, the first time you call him? If not, then you have some serious work to do. If you’ve ever seen a dog slip out of their collar on a busy sidewalk, you know how important it is for your dog to return to your side where it’s safe. Keeping positive associations with the command and using high-value treats will help with the training process.
Loose Leash Walking – I’m often asked “how do I get my dog to stop pulling on his leash?”. When you take your dog out for a walk, are you being pulled, tugged and your dog is not politely walking by your side? Who’s walking who?? Dogs love to be outside, and the walk is a stimulating and exciting part of their day, so the desire to push ahead is very strong. A leash, however, can be frustrating for a dog because being ‘tied’ to a person essentially stops a dog’s ability to act naturally. All dogs should be taught how to walk on the leash in a positive way without being jerked, yanked, choked, or shocked, so that walks can be enjoyable for everyone.
Stay – stay requires that your dog remain in the designated place and position, with no resistance such as moving, whining, or barking, until you either release him or give another command. This cue teaches your dog impulse control skills and can be used in a variety of situations, such as the front door, before crossing a road, and when people come to your home. Dogs sometimes have problems executing commands for which they see no purpose and do not especially enjoy. We can’t make “stay” particularly fun, but we can impress upon the dog the fact that we consider it important, and that the quicker the dog successfully accomplishes the assignment, the sooner it will be over.
Leave it – Teaching a leave-it command is a practical and potentially lifesaving command that every dog should learn.The ‘leave it’ cue teaches your dog an invaluable lesson in impulse control that can be useful in many situations. It may be used to ignore food that has fallen on the floor, something your dog picks up on a walk, another dog, or even a child. Leave it teaches your dog to take his nose away from something but not to release something from his mouth. If you want your dog to drop something, the “drop it” cue should be given.
Watch me – is the final essential command, yet many owners never think about teaching it to their dog. It helps to get your dog’s attention when you’re outside, especially if there are distractions that might make him nervous. Having a reliable ‘watch me’ command is one of the building blocks needed to deal with more significant behavioral obstacles, so be sure to take the time to teach this valuable cue to your dog as early in life as possible.
Feel free to call me with questions and concerns at (718) 229-WAGS (9247) or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer group classes and one-on-one training for puppies to adult dogs.