All dogs should have some sort of basic obedience training, but unfortunately many owners seem get lazy and lose interest in training their dogs. This is bad not only because you’re likely to end up with an uncontrollable dog with bad manners, but it will make your dog unhappy because they end up having no structure and no idea what you want from them. But beyond basic manners and house training, there are other commands you can teach your dog that will make your life easier. If you’re bored with sit and down stays, try training these tricks and see how you can apply them to daily life with your pup.
#1 – Place
Teaching a place command is a great way to get your dog to go to their bed or crate without you having to put up a fight. Rather than leaving them in a down stay on the floor while you have friends and family visit, you can teach your dog to go directly to their bed so have somewhere comfortable to relax while they’re waiting for you to release them. More often than not, dogs will start going to bed or crate by themselves when they’re tired or want to relax.
#2 – Barrier Training
Barrier training is especially important for dogs that insist on bolting out of front doors, which can be very dangerous. But barrier training can also apply to anywhere inside your home. Many trainers teach their dogs not to come into the kitchen while their cooking, because their dogs can get in the way and cause a tripping hazard. You could teach your dog to stay out of any particular room in the house if you wanted to. It’s a very useful command that can certainly make your life easier.
#3 – Quiet
While this should be part of your dog’s basic manners, some puppies aren’t noisy enough for owners to teach a quiet command. But teaching your dog how to be quiet is important because there are many times your dog could start barking obnoxiously for no apparent reason. Excessive barking is a potential problem for you, your neighbors and your dog. Teaching your pooch how to be quiet when you tell them to is a great way to control the noise level in your home.
#4 – Hold
Teaching a hold is often seen as an advanced obedience behavior, but in reality it’s very simple to teach should you want to try it. Teaching a hold is a great way to give your dog a job to do as well. Perhaps your hands are full when you’re trying to come in the door and you don’t have anyone around to hold something for you. Well, you could teach your dog! Many trainers teach their dogs to hold random objects like phones, wallets, keys and even clothes for laundry.
#5 – Retrieve
The retrieve is probably one of the most useful commands you can teach your dog, because you can truly teach your dog to bring you anything they’re capable of carrying. How many times have you seen owners teach their dogs to bring them a cold beer? Retrieves are a very common command in service dogs for this very reason. If you can’t or don’t want to get up to get something, you can send your dog to bring it to you.
#6 – Put Away
Teaching your dog to put things away not only makes cleaning up their toys a fun game, you can even get your pooch to help you throw things in the trash or clothes in the dirty laundry. It’s fairly simple to teach and helps a lot if you’re sick or injured and unable to move around very much. While it seems like painfully boring cleaning to you, your dog will think it’s a great game and will love it.
#7 – Find It
Teaching your dog to find something is extremely useful and super cool. Teaching dogs how to find a specific item is usually done by scent discrimination. Applying a certain scent to different items will help your dog learn how to find something and bring it to you. This is typically done on keys and TV remotes, since they’re the things people lose most often.
About the Author
Katie is a professional dog trainer located in Southern California, with a background of experience as a veterinary assistant as well. She has trained and competed with multiple breeds in AKC Obedience and Rally, agility, herding, Schutzhund/IPO and conformation. She has been involved in dogs since she was a child and specializes in protection dogs, working dogs and aggression issues. You can visit her website, Katie’s Dog Training, or her blog, Little Sable Dog, to find out more information about her training and accomplishments. When she’s not helping others and writing, she’s out on the field with her Belgian Malinois and Pembroke Welsh Corgis.