A well-trained dog doesn’t just mean going for a walk with a fur-baby who won’t pull on the leash. It doesn’t just mean we’ll be sharing a home with a canine-companion who can do party tricks. A well-trained dog means access. Access to dog parks, airlines, crowds, and more. Being able to take our pups with us on excursions and adventures with the confidence that they can listen and follow directions is invaluable.
For those who missed our first piece on Essential Commands To Teach Your Dog, it’s available HERE. This is the second installment which focuses on the next set of essential commands our dogs can benefit from.
The most obvious use for this command is to keep our pups from jumping on people. It’s also useful to get our pup off of places, like furniture, counters, and any other place we need them to move away from. An example comes from a customer who takes car rides with her dog. He was so excited to go for a ride that he stepped on her hand without realizing it. He was too big for her to push off of her hand and he was so distracted by his excitement, getting his attention was difficult. Luckily, she had taught him the ‘Off’ command and used it. Upon hearing a command he knows, he instinctively looked at her for further guidance and moved around until he lifted his paw and she was able to move her hand again. Many commands are useful for many different reasons, but it’s these unforeseeable reasons that a well-trained dog becomes incredibly important.
In our last piece on essential commands, we covered the ‘Leave It’ command. Many people don’t cover the ‘take it’ command, we this can be a great way to help high energy and working dogs to feel useful. By being able to tell our pups that an item is okay to take, we would like them to take it, and maybe even that we want them to hold onto it, we are creating a positive command to counteract the negative command, leave it. This also allows us to begin creating a command series. We can tell Fido to take something, go to their spot, and then drop it. A command series is the gateway to much more advanced activities. It also creates a special bond as we activate our pups mind for more than simple 5-second tasks.
Settle, Relax, or Simmer
Dogs are so loveable when they get excited. They’ve got those wagging tails that make their butts wiggle. Their adoration seems to go through the roof. And the excited prancing is a dance anyone can enjoy with a laugh. Sometimes we need Fido to take it down a notch. Trying to have a conversation at the front door while the dancing paws show goes on in the background can be a bit much. And trying to get Rover to stop moving long enough to let us get his collar and leash on can seem like an impossible task. That’s where the ‘settle’ command comes in. We can pick any word that fits our natural vocabulary. Teaching our puppy to calm themselves, is infinitely useful.
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Remember, commands are always more effective when we combine them with hand gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Add praise in a happy voice when they get it right, even when it’s the hundredth time. Use an open downward facing hand that moves away from the object we want our dog to stay clear of to go with the ‘Off’ command. Use a downward open hand with a soft, bouncing movement toward the ground to go with the ‘Settle’ command. Adding these additional cues help our pup to understand what we want, even when we are out of vocal range or in loud areas with lots of distractions.
What are your favorite commands? Any games or advice for new dog guardians about how they relationship build and teach their canine companion the basics? Let us know in the comments, or post to Facebook and Instagram, using #VetOrganics