While training your dog might seem like a long, arduous process, it is well worth it when you have an obedient, well-trained dog in the end. Not only that, but a well-trained dog is a safe dog, and your dog should be able to perform all of these commands even in the most stimulating of environments.
Sit is one of the first commands that you teach a dog as many other tricks are based off of this one simple command. When you are confident that you dog has sit down pat, you can move on to other tricks.
Stay and Come
The stay and come commands are usually taught in conjunction, with come working as the release from the stay. Stay is such an important command because it can keep your dog out of all sorts of trouble. At the end of your training, you should be able to put your dog in a stay, leave the room, and come back to him in the same position.
While most start off training the stay command in the sit position, your dog should also be able to execute the command when standing or laying down. Later, we will get into the down-stay, which should be able to be executed when the dog is moving.
While you are teaching your dog stay, you should also be teaching him a release from stay command. Come works well for this, but only if you want your dog to come to you. You should have another release command, and “release” works well for this purpose. This allows your dog to leave the stay position, but does not require him to come to you.
Another important safety command is leave it. Teaching your dog this will keep him out of trouble when not on a leash. Every dog owner has the experience of having to drag their dog away from something that the dog wants but should not have.
The leave it command will make this no longer necessary. This trick is important for the dog’s safety because it will allow you to command the dog away from anything possibly harmful, such as chocolate that has been dropped on the floor.
Drop it is something that can be taught in conjunction with leave it. If your dog gets ahold of something harmful before you are able to give the leave it command, drop it will get it out of his mouth without you having to get your fingers slobbery.
The down-stay is the epitome of dog safety commands because it immediately brings the dog’s attention to you and stops him in his tracks. The well-trained dog will be able to complete this command even when running towards something that he really wants. When you tell your dog “down-stay,” he should immediately freeze, lie down, and stay there until you release him.
Down-stay is more effective than a normal stay because dogs are more relaxed in the down position, and therefore more likely to stay. If you have ever seen herding demonstrations where border collies are herding sheep, you will notice that the shepherds utilize the down-stay with their collies, who are some of the best trained dogs in the working dog world.
When teaching your dog these safety commands, you should start in a place with few distractions and slowly work your way up from there. Make sure you are very confident in your dog’s ability before asking him to perform these commands in dangerous situations such as on a sidewalk next to a busy thruway. Eventually you will be able to take your dog into any situation, confident that you are in complete control of your pet.