6 Lifesaving Commands Every Dog Should Know
There are many reasons to train your dog basic obedience, the most important of which is to keep them safe from harm. Imagine a scenario where you’ve taken your dog out for a walk when the worst happens; your dog’s collar breaks off and falls in the middle of crossing the road with a lot of traffic. In that situation, you would want to tell your dog to stay and follow you safely to the other side of the road where you can fix her leash around her neck again.
Whether your dog is approaching a speeding car or is about to eat a random item on the street, obedience training on lifesaving commands might save his life.
Below are the six basic commands that might save your dog’s life one day. Make sure your dog is trained consistently to quickly respond to these commands every time you give them.
Keep Your Dog Safe – 6 Important Behavior Skills to Train
There’s a reason the ‘come’ command (also known as the recall command) has taken a top spot on the list. Let’s say you’ve accidentally left the front door open and your dog dashes chasing after something. A snappy recall is essential in keeping your dog from chasing a squirrel o bringing him back to you.
A well-trained dog should come back to you immediately once they hear this command no matter how far they are from you or what kind of distractions are present.
To teach this command, begin with putting your dog on a leash about 6-8 feet long. Take a handful of tasty treats, call out the dog’s name and then shout ‘‘come!’’ in a loud, cheerful voice. When your dog comes, praise her and give her the treats. As you progress with your training, increase the distance your dog has to run towards you.
Always use a cheerful voice in calling your dog to come. If your voice conveys anger or panic, it may discourage your pet from coming to you. A common mistake pets parents make when training this command is to call their dog to scold/punish them. You want your dog to associate the word ‘come’ with a positive experience, so they are more likely to repeat the behavior.
The ‘stop’ command is another foundational safety cue for all dogs. It is a perfect command when you want your dog to pause for a moment before moving on with your walk or when they’re running towards something they shouldn’t.
A simple way to begin training for the stop command is to go to a large open area and call your dog. When your dog runs towards you, throw a treat right behind them so that they will stop and turn around.
Repeat this process several times and then shout the word ‘stop’ before you throw the treat. Only reward your dog when they follow the command to reinforce the stop behavior.
Every dog parent knows how valuable the ‘sit’ command in everyday life. As a lifesaving command, it is especially helpful for dogs that like to jump on people and react to other animals.
Training your dog the ‘sit’ command is easy because they frequently assume that position throughout the day. However, it may take over 20 repetitions before your dog gets it, so patience is key.
Lure your dog to the sitting position by using treats. Place the treat directly in front of your dog’s nose so that she keeps all her paws on the ground. Move the treat slowly back over her forehead, so her nose follows your hand.
As the dog’s nose goes up following your hands, her body will go down. Once her rear touches the ground to assume the sitting position, give her the treat. Repeat the training a couple of times and say ‘sit’ before you give your dog the treat.
This command comes in handy when your dog accidentally drops their leash. It can also be helpful when you need to investigate something on your own and require your dog to stay back.
To teach this command, make sure you’ve already taught your dog the ‘sit’ command first. Tell your dog to stay and immediately give him a treat before he gets a chance to get up. The next time, try pausing for 1-2 seconds before giving him the treat. Keep increasing the number of seconds you pause until your dog can stay for up to 10 seconds. Praise your dog every time he stays.
In some cases, calling a dog back to you can cause them more dangerous, and it would be better for them to stay in place and wait for you to go to them. For instance, if your dog has somehow managed to dart across a busy road, it’s better to tell them to lay down and stay until you can cross to their side of the road rather than asking her to cross over and come to you.
With the ‘down, stay’ command, a dog should immediately drop down to the ground and wait for its owner regardless of the distance between them.
Dogs are excellent sniffers, which means they will go around finding all sorts of interesting things on the ground. Once they find something that picks their interest, the first thing they do is put it in their mouths, be it a dead animal, metal objects, medication, etc.
Swallowing or chewing on such items will have devastating consequences for them. A dog that hasn’t been trained to drop what is in her mouth may swallow the item before their owner gets a chance to extract it from their mouth.
To teach the ‘drop it’ command, start by playing with your dog and giving them their favorite toy. When the toy is in her mouth, give her a delicious treat so that she drops the toy to pick up the treat. Repeat the process a few times, and eventually, when you want to give her the treat, tell her ‘’drop it’’ to let go of the toy in her mouth.
The idea is to create a tradeoff scenario whereby your dog knows if she drops what is in his mouth immediately, she will get something even better.
Hopefully, you will never have to use these commands in an emergency, but these simple verbal commands can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. It’s, therefore, worthwhile to invest your time and effort to train your dogs, make sure that your dog clearly understands and follows these safety commands.