As pet owners, we try not to think about it but there is a good chance that our happy furry friend, in their mission to explore every sound and investigate every smell, may become oblivious to the dangers around them.
While there are many behaviours that we can encourage in order to promote safety, here are 5 life-saving commands that your dog should be able to perform under any circumstances.
This might seem like a no brainer. Who doesn’t teach their dog its own name? But what most people do not realise is that apart from being able to call your dog over for a big hug, getting your dog to instantly look at you when they hear their name, regardless of what they are doing, is essential for their safety.
You also need to get this down to make the use of other commands more effective. Just remember to use their names in a positive context with plenty of praises and treats, and avoiding using it when disciplining them.
Get your doggy prancing towards you and away from danger with the ‘come’ command. Dogs can get easily carried away while exploring outdoors and this might cause them to run right into a dangerous situation.
Training them to come when called protects them from life-threatening situations like running onto the street while chasing someone or something. It will also prevent them from running off and getting lost in the event that their leash breaks.
When your dog masters the ‘down stay’ command, they should be able to drop their body immediately and hold that position. Imagine your dog is across a busy street from you. Upon seeing you, it wags its tail and starts walking towards you. In this case, asking your dog to ‘come’ actually puts them in more danger. This is why in certain cases, ‘down stay’ is essential to keeping your dog in a safe position until you can get to them.
If you’ve had your furry friend for a while now, it’s not surprising if you’ve experienced a couple of harrowing instances where you’re trying to dig something out of your dog’s mouth. This could range from a mortifying ‘dug-my-lingerie-out-of-the-laundry-and-into-my-dinner-party’ to a life-threatening ‘dropped-my-prescription-pill-and-he-ate-it’.
FYI, underwear, along with apple cores and chicken bones, are choking hazards for dogs. To avoid embarrassing situations, expensive surgeries, and even death, teach your fur buddy to always drop the object in their mouth upon command instead of swallowing it or playing with it like a toy.
Whether your dog is large or small, teaching your dog to walk right next to you and stop when you stop with the command ‘heel’ helps to keep walks safe and pleasant. Being able to control where they rush to will be very helpful in keeping them away from dangerous situations, and in order to do so, you’ll need to constantly keep their attention while practising so that they familiarise with signs that show you’re about to stop and move off.
Some of these commands are trickier than others to master, but don’t give up! Once your pup masters them all, they could potentially save its life one day.