5 ESSENTIAL "COMMANDS" FOR OUR 4-LEGGED FRIENDS

Before examining the 5 commands I consider essential to teach your dog, I would like to make a brief introduction.

Many times I find myself struggling with owners who turn to me to prepare national K9 exams or to embark on a sports path with their dog after attending a basic education course in another center.

Most of the time I have to (reluctantly) bring them back with their feet on the ground and  make them take a few steps back in order  to move forward.

I’ll explain myself : many times some aspects are neglected and even avoided on purpose by those who train dogs and owners.

In fact, it is very common to find, in these cases, that not only the basic commands are very inaccurate and unclear for the owner and dog, but they are also precarious in other far more important aspects.

I have already spoken in another article about puppies, about the importance of “NO” and “COME”, if you have not read it yet, I invite you to do so because this is exactly what I am referring to.

Honestly, a dog at 10 months that knows how to give the paw or is able to follow the hand thanks to a reward and then sit down (for a fraction of a second) … honestly ,serves little or nothing if it’s not  clear, in his head, the concept of “NO” and “COME”.

A dog that  gives the paw (high five trick) but does not come back when he is  unleashed (free) is a dog that can get into trouble and can be dangerous for us and for the others.

A dog that is going to do something wrong but does not know the “STOP” command for that action he puts in place, is an unmanaged dog, therefore he (in the first place) might be in life danger or dangerous for us and for the others.

I want to dedicate the 1st place of this list to the “NO” command, that is to say that signal that orders our dog to immediately stop a wrong or dangerous behavior.

Many of the owners’ dogs that I happen to train do not know this command, in many cases they know it but do not respect it.

I want to dedicate the 1st placeof this list to the command “NO”, that is to say that signal that orders our dog to immediately stop a wrong or dangerous behavior.

This can happen in the event that the owner has been inconsistent or discontinuous in the interaction with his pet, renouncing to enforce the “NO” because it is too tiring in terms of time / training / education or because he superficially thought that the behavior to be corrected or interrupdet would have extinguished out simply by ignoring it.

In various cases I have heard of new cynophile theories that ban the command “NO”. In my opinion the risk with these new training methods is to make the dogs undisciplined  and anarchist.

Allow me to explain why I personally consider essential this command if you want to set a safe and correct relationship with your dog in every situation.

Why do we need the “NO” command ?
The “NO” can serve us on various occasions in everyday life for emotional self control and as well for training purposes.If trained effectively it can really make life easier for you and your dog.

For example: it serves to inhibit our dog from eating something suspicious from the ground, or to correct when he implements an unseemly attitude that can lead to behavioral vices such as pulling on the leash or putting his paws on the table while we have dinner.

The 2nd place goes to “COME” although as mentioned in the premise of this article I consider it together with the “NO” a fundamental command that for me is essential in basic dog training, preferably when still a puppy.

This is an exercise that does not envolve who knows what “talent” from the part of the owner, I do know conductors  without particular skills or high levels of cynotechnical preparation but with an exceptional response when they put in act the “COME” command.

How can it be? you will wonder …

A timely and joyful response to the “COME” by a dog is synonymous of a close relationship with his friend/owner .

And so the success of the recall depends a lot on the relationship between you and your furry friend.

If you want to learn some exercises to improve your relationship visit the video section.
You’ll find some interesting insights that can help you build a solid recall in open spaces.

The correct execution of the “COME” command is synonymous of a MANAGED DOG.
A managed dog is a dog out of danger!

“Sit” is a very simple exercise for the dog to perform (in the video section you can learn more about the ways to teach your dog this command). Is a natutal and  easy behavior for most dogs and it is achievable even by  first time dog owners   in an intuitive way.A phrase that is almost always said to me by dog owners who turn to me to fix behavioral problems or to make a personalized path with their dog sounds like this   “He can sit, lay down, high five etc ..” In 90% of cases they are people who have attended basic education or training courses in other dog training schools and where they have not received the adequate information to build and set the command in question. Let me explain better, the command “Sit” in my experience is not useful if it has not been well imprinted in the muscle memory and in the semantic memory of the dog… “That a dog knows how to perform it for a few seconds, at his best,  is really of little use”. When we have to cross a busy city street or when we stop to talk to someone the “Sit” must be a behavior that lasts at least a few minutes if you want to have a discreet management of your dog. Instead, too many times I came across owners convinced that the “Sit” is a “lightning behavior” that must be requested and repeated indefinitely, triggering behavioral chains in which the dog first  is gratified by exhibiting the “Sit” command ,unfortunately , for fractions of a second and  soon after he will continuously get up (in the Stand position) without respecting the posture that was requested. If we want to build a good “Sit” we will need to work on several aspects: in addition to working on the muscle memory of the wanted command, it will be necessary to discipline the action to maintain that behavior until we decide that it is sufficient (staying in the command until told not to). Of course, the exercise will be built in several steps, calibrating distractions and duration but working to increase the patience of our dog and without reinforcing the opposite.


The above is also valid for the “Down” command.

Is a fairly easy behavior to teach a collaborative dog.

Also in this case, it is important to set the position and work a lot in order to increase the time spent lied on the ground and generalize the exercise in the most varied scenarios, accustoming the dog to disturbances, distractions and ever new situations.

The “Down” command can be useful in a thousand situations, it can help us, for example, to effectively manage our dog when we go to the vet or in the presence of other dogs, and is a prerequisite for teaching the “STAY” command.

In the Video section you will find various contributions to better build and model this behavior.

Is a command that can be associated with both  “SIT” and “DOWN”.

It is useful in many situations when we need to leave the dog alone in a certain position or location.

To be consolidated, this command must be repeated frequently and generalized in various places, to accustom the dog to be under control even in a new place, in case we need to leave him alone in a safe place for a few minutes.

There are very frequent mistakes that are generally made by beginners in the construction of this important command.

In the video section you can explore them with me.