When it comes to living with dogs, there are many different opinions on how to raise them, treat them, house them, and train them. Just like with children, everyone has a different way of “parenting” their pets. With that said, most agree that basic obedience training is essential for all dogs, regardless of age, size, or breed. In fact, many even agree that there are some basic commands that should be taught to all dogs, and we’d like to share some of those with you here. These commands are the foundation of all other obedience. Not only do they help make your dog a better housemate and citizen, they could save his or her life one day.
#1 – Their Name
This doesn’t seem like a word or command to most people, but it is! Think about a new puppy that doesn’t know its name yet… you might see them get into something and have no way to get their attention without going over to them. We take our dogs’ understanding their names for granted because it’s such a natural thing for humans to know. But your dog should know his or her name. This helps to get their attention before you give a command. Think about trying to call your dog to you when he’s outside chasing a squirrel. During the chase, hearing you yell “come!” might just blow right through his ears because he isn’t paying attention to you. But if you yell, “Fido, come!” you’re getting his attention first by saying his name. We use our dogs’ names the same way we use other peoples’ names – they need to know who we’re talking to.
#2 – Come/Here
A recall is one of the most important commands you can teach your dog.This command could definitely be a lifesaver, as our dogs are prone to chase many things. Even a trained dog can get distracted by a cat or squirrel and want to give chase – that’s just a part of being a dog. If your dog accidentally gets out of the house or yard or slips out of their leash and collar, you’ll also want a way to be able to get them back before they run too far or into dangerous traffic. Whatever command you choose, having a reliable recall is essential.
#3 – Down
A down command is one of the most useful commands you’ll ever teach your dog. You can use it in so many ways. If you’ve got a dog that wants to play when you’re busy around the house, you can tell them to lie down and relax. Teaching your dog to lie down and not bother guests is another way this command is helpful. Even more, you might just want to take your dog to lunch and have him or her lie beside you and not beg for food from you or any other diners. A down command allows your dog a way to be near you but not bothersome, even if they’re just trying to be friendly.
#4 – Sit
Just like the down, a sit command is extremely useful. Teaching your dog to sit before being greeted (instead of jumping on everyone they meet) gives them something appropriate to do while they wait for their friendly pet. Perhaps you want to stop and chat with a neighbor while you’re out on a walk; you could ask your dog to sit and relax while you exchange pleasantries. Sitting while being examined by a veterinarian is also useful. There are so many ways you can use a sit command, it just makes no sense not to teach it.
#5 – Stay
With sit and down comes the stay command. Some people don’t actually teach this as a word, but rather ask the dog to sit or down until released from the position. Most people, however, find it easier to teach the word “stay” as a command. It doesn’t really make a difference either way, so long as your dog knows to stay where they are until you ask them to move somewhere else. A stay command allows your dog to wait in whatever area you place them in. For example, you can ask your dog to lie down in the kitchen while you’re eating, but sometimes you might not want your dog right under your feet. So, you can ask them to lie down and stay on a nearby mat or bed.
However you use these commands is up to you, but it’s important to understand just how beneficial they are to your life, your dog’s life, and the lives of everyone else around you.