Back to School is a busy whirlwind of shopping for school supplies, packing lunches and getting into a homework routine for many households. This is also a good time for pet owners to establish or refresh some good behavior rules for your canine family members who may have slipped into sloppy habits over the summer.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but dogs of any age can be lifelong learners with some targeted training. So whether your puppy is brand new or the older and wiser type, here are a handful of basic commands that every dog should know, both for their own safety and the harmony of your household.
- SIT – Start with “sit,” and your dog will be calmer and easier to control. It’s also the first step in learning more complicated commands that follow. Work on the sit sequence several times a day, then use it regularly before daily activities for reinforcement.
- DOWN – “Down” is useful for keeping your dog more relaxed in hectic situations, as well as being incompatible with other behaviors that are undesirable, such as counter surfing. Down is also a building block for other commands, such as “stay” and the ever-popular “roll over” trick.
- STAY – After your dog has earned an A+ on Sit and Down, the next assignment to work on is the “Stay” command. It’s important to have a definite beginning and a clear ending that is signified by a release word. This command requires more self-control from your dog, so be patient and consistent.
- COME – Also known as reliable recall, the Come command can save you from frustration and more importantly save your dog from a dangerous situation. The trick when teaching “come” is to be the most exciting thing around for your dog. Start in a quiet environment and use rewards that your dog loves.
- LEAVE IT – When your dog is tempted by something that could be harmful, the Leave It command is rewarded with something even better. Dogs are naturally curious, so teaching them to rely on you for what’s safe is important.
If you both do your homework every night and keep practicing, your dog can ace these basic commands in no time.