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December 2023

Archive for December 6th, 2023

The First Important Command to Teach Your Dog

Wednesday, December 6, 2023
posted by Jim Murphy

Teaching your dog commands is a priority for so many reasons including safety. The American Kennel Club and written an article on the most important command to teach your dog and this command should be the first one taught. It takes an instant for a dog to see a bird, cat or squirrel and dart out into the street. You need one simple command to stop him in his tracks and have him return to your side. This command is “come.” Here is the entire article written by the Kennel Club that goes into detail on how to accomplish this.

There are so many important commands for your dog to learn, but the most important is “come.” It only takes a second for even the most well-behaved dog to see a squirrel and dart into traffic. A strong recall can be the difference between life and death.

Start with your dog on a leash walking at your side (it’s easier to get her to come to you when she’s already moving). Then, take a quick step back and say your pooch’s name, followed by “Come!” As you’re saying this, pull gently on the leash to turn her around and have her start heading toward you. Once she’s facing you, continue to walk backward, coaxing her toward you. If she needs gentle urging, use the leash. Never scold her for coming too slowly. You can make this fun for both of you by approaching it with enthusiasm, as if you were playing a game. Don’t ask her to come in an angry voice or when you’re mad, or she’ll start associating the command with negativity. Reward her when she comes with a treat (it helps to offer something extra special and/or continue to give bits of treats for a full 30 seconds to teach your dog how much of a reward he gets by following this command).

Dogs learn that performing commands is often a gamble. They may get a treat as a reward, they may get praise, or they may get nothing. Ensure your dog will listen to you when call “come” by letting him know that the command always means a big reward. That means not using the command when you want your dog to follow you into the bedroom (unless you plan on offering treats and lavish praise). Use a different command for a casual in-house recall, like “over here” or “place.” Break out the “come” only to practice and when it’s really needed.

Remember, pets are family!
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