Holy Commandments for Your Dog

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Holy Commandments for Your Dog

by Hope Saidel

Obedience training your dog is a personal matter. If it matters to you ? you?ll train your dog to do it or stop doing it. What ?it? is depends on you. If you don?t want your dog on your furniture, you?ll train him to keep off. If you want your dog to ?shake hands,? you?ll teach her how.

But there are a few commands that every dog should know and obey every single time, even if your dog?s primary job is keeping your chair warm while you get the snacks.

The most important three are: ?come,? ?stay,? and ?leave it.? Any of these could, at some point, save your dog?s life.

This article addresses ?Come,? known as the ?Recall? in Obedience parlance.

The value of ?come? is obvious ? your dog runs out the door and heads for traffic. Or you?re late for an appointment and she?s found something disgusting in the yard to sniff. The first rule of teaching the ?Recall? is to put a leash and collar on your dog. If you can?t enforce the command, you can?t teach it.

Start with treats and leash in hand, not more than a couple of feet from the dog. Call your dog?s name and offer the treat. Don?t use the command ?come? at this point. When your dog moves toward you, that?s the time to praise and give the behavior a name. ?Good come, Fido! Good come.? When your dog reaches you, gently take hold of her collar, give her the treat and praise wildly. Try it a couple of times and stop while it?s still fun and interesting. Training sessions shouldn?t be more than a few minutes or you?ll both get bored.

You want to be able to touch the dog and take hold of its collar, gently, when it reaches you. Dogs love playing ?keep-away? and will think you?re starting a different game. For the few minutes you?re training, control every variable you can.

If your dog isn?t interested in moving toward you, use a smellier treat (sliced-up hot dogs work well), make silly noises, pretend you?re running away ? make yourself the most fascinating thing around. You should be the most interesting, fun thing in the universe to your dog.

As your dog becomes more reliable and learns what ?come? means, you can step further away and have your dog run to catch you. Praise your dog for coming to you every single time! Never call a dog to you for punishment. You want your dog to be happy to come to you and do it reliably. Make a game of it ? randomly call your dog and start a play session. Call your dog just because it?s fun. And keep it fun, each and every time.

Training takes time and patience. Investing just five minutes, a couple of times a day, can pay off. Keep it fun, stop when your dog is successful, and have a plan for your training session. You?ll both be happier when you?re a training team.

Hope Saidel is the co-owner of GollyGear, a bricks-and-mortar and online small dog shop featuring fun, affordable and practical products for small dogs. She has trained and competed in Obedience with small dogs for over a decade and is on the Board of Directors of the North Shore Dog Training Club. Check out her blog: GollyLog. She welcomes comments, questions and suggestions to manager@GollyGear.com.

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