Happy National Dog Training Month!
January was selected to be National Train Your Dog Month in 2010 by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. The topics of dog socialization and training are very important for pet owners. By increasing our knowledge and skills in dog training, we can improve the human-animal bond, make our homes safer and more comfortable for everyone, and replace bad behaviors with good behaviors. Many families welcome a new dog during the winter holidays, so January is the ideal time to raise awareness about how fun, easy and useful dog training can be.
10 Uses for the “Sit” Command
- Sit at the door when you or guests enter or leave
- Sit while food is being served at the dinner table.
- Sit while bowls are being put on the ground to prevent rushing and spilling the bowl.
- Sit before getting in or out of the car.
- Sit at sidewalk curbs to wait until it’s safe to cross the street.
- Sit to clip nails on front paws or have paws cleaned of mud/dirt.
- Sit at the top/bottom of a staircase so you don’t trip over your dog.
- Sit before taking down the baby gate or other management barrier, or before coming out of the crate.
- Sit stay while others pass by when you’re on an off-leash hike.
- Sit stay to keep dog from getting over-stimulated by any exciting situation.
Here is a list of commands that you may benefit from teaching to your dog:
The most basic of all commands. Can be practiced before eating, at street corners, in elevators, whenever you need to get active control of your dog.
WATCH ME or LOOK AT ME!
Get your dog to focus on you and make eye contact.
This is to show that what was just done was the wrong choice, the dog blew it. Should be said in a low, firm tone of voice. Be careful about what you’re pairing this with – if your dog does something wrong and you call them over to you or tell them to sit before giving them the WRONG command, they may think the come or sit was what they are being punished for.
OUCH or IEEE!
When your dog bit down too hard on his littermates as a puppy, they yelped at him and stopped playing. You can yelp to communicate the same thing when your dog bites.
GOOD DOG/WHAT A GOOD KID!
Right choice. Should be said in an upbeat, happy tone of voice. You want the dog to know that what he did was wonderful and he should keep doing it.
This means to lie down. Many people misuse DOWN and OFF interchangeably, and this is a big mistake. Down is a very subordinate position so some bossy dogs may not readily comply. To be used when you want your dog to be comfortable or when you need control of a dog throwing a tantrum.
Use this when you want the dog to go from a sit or down and stand with all four feet on the ground. This is very useful at the vet’s office or at the curb on a rainy day.
This means do not move from whatever position the dog is in. You may ask your dog to “sit stay,” “down stay,” etc.
Dog is released from whatever position you asked him to assume. He is done working until the next command is given.
This is the command for controlled walking, what you do on a regular basis with your dog. The dog may go out to the end of his six-foot leash and sniff around and do his thing but do not allow him to drag you down the street or trip you by crisscrossing in front of or behind you.
This is a very precise position at your left side. The dog walks along beside you. If you stop, the dog stops. Heel is a good command to use on very crowded streets or when you want your dog very close, such as when there’s broken glass in your path.
When your dog hears this command, he should leave whatever he is doing and come to sit in front of you. Because this can be a lifesaving command, you should always give it in the most cheerful, inviting tones. Reserve a very special treat for teaching it and never use it to call your dog to you to do something he does not like.
Use this for those times the dog is jumping up on people, furniture, or counter tops. Don’t confuse this command with “down.”
Teach your dog to take food or toys using this command. The dog should wait until you give the “take it” command before putting the offered object in his mouth.
DROP IT or OUT or GIVE!
This means that the dog should spit out whatever is in his mouth. It is important to teach this command using a reward system or you can create an overly possessive dog.
This tells your dog not to even think about picking up the object, to avert their eyes from the object. Very useful on city streets.