Three most important lessons in basic obedience…..

Basic obedience training is so important in so many ways that often it seems I am repeating myself when stressing this point. Besides the obvious benefits in your relationship with your dog, basic obedience provides safety. When I say safety, I mean your ability to protect your dog from the environment. In the absence of a leash, knowing that your dog will do what you ask is your best bet for keeping him safe.

*I will note here, though, how much it drives me crazy when people think that the leash on their dog is to protect other people and other dogs. The leash on your dog is to protect your dog. Period. Any dog can and will get spooked, and some of these places I see people walking their dogs off leash are just feet from a busy intersection or highway. If you have your dog on a leash, and someone else’s dog runs up and your dog reacts it is always the other person’s fault for having their dog off leash. It does not matter what breed of dog you have. No dog wants to be rushed on by another dog, especially when they are on a leash and have no means for  escape.


When I start a package of basic obedience training with the client, I stress the three following behaviors: staying in the spot I asked you to stay until I have said it’s okay to get up, no matter how long it takes or how far away I go. Coming every time I call you. And going to a spot that I point to.


As you know I don’t use the word ‘stay’. I expect the dog to sit in the spot I asked him to sit until I have given him a release command. If the dog just sits for reward and then stands up it is nothing more than a parlor trick. ‘Sit’ alone, if solid, would provide freedom from 50% of the problems that I get called for later on. A sitting dog can’t jump, a sitting dog can’t bolt out the door, a sitting dog can’t come to the table looking for food. A sitting dog stay sitting in the spot we asked him to sit.


The same goes for coming when called. If a dog always comes when called, then those moments when you might freak out and scream ‘no’ and run at the dog  (the opposite of what you should do) will disappear, and you will instinctively use the  calm, firm recall command that you have practiced. If the dog is in another room barking out the window, a simple recall command will break the dog’s concentration on whatever it is and bring the dog to you.


Going to a place and staying there is the third behavior I stress. The dog already understands how to stay in a spot, so now we just teach the dog how to go to the spot where they will stay. Again a dog that you have sent to his place, who knows to stay in his place, cannot both out the door or charge at the pizza delivery guy.


In another blog entry I will go into the benefits in relationship building through basic obedience. But I think that with these three simple behaviors, we will have been eliminating the majority of problems that might arise later on in life.