Dogs are incredibly smart. Pair that with most breeds’ willingness to please, and you’ve got a darned-near perfect recipe for a well-trained pet. While working dogs, hunting dogs, show dogs and the like will go through extensive training to master their very specific skills, you don’t need to quit your day job in order to have a well-mannered dog around the house. There are trainers, classes, books and online tutorials to help you in the process, but here are five of the must-know commands every dog should master!
- Sit: This is likely the easiest command, and one that seems to come naturally for most new owners. Having your dog sit on command makes it easier for you to deliver a treat, etc., and makes it less likely he’ll jump up on you or anyone else.
- Stay: An excellent follow-up command to “sit”, teaching your dog to stay – whether at your side or not, let’s them know they’re going to be here a while. Whether it’s waiting to cross an intersection along the walk, or remaining still while you engage with another person.
- Heel: Teaching your dog to walk at your side, without pulling ahead or dragging behind, makes walking or running together safer and more comfortable for you both. Without the risk of getting tangled together in the leash, you’re less likely to trip. And walks won’t seem like nearly the workout if you’re not constantly trying to “reign in” your dog.
- Off or Down: Even the least bright of breeds knows your bed or sofa is much more comfortable than the floor. Can you blame your dog for wanting to sneak a nap on that fluffy goodness? Teach them to respect your turf when hearing this command.
- Give or Drop it: Just about every dog will pick up something icky along the walk on occasion. Teaching them to drop what they’ve found means you’re less likely to have to bare hand any mystery meat to free it from your dog’s mouth.
Patience and consistency are keys to successful training. Spending time together working on these commands can be a rewarding process for you and your dog. Ask your veterinarian or consult with a trainer for more ways to raise a well-mannered dog.