In Please Don’t Bite the Baby, I write about the importance of training basic commands. In some ways dog training is like cooking. There are standard staple ingredients that go into complicated recipes and meals, and in dog training, we have standard commands that allow us to manage our dogs.
By using placement skills that essentially mean: come here, go there, don’t move, chill for awhile, greet politely, and others, we can control our dog’s behavior and help our dog understand what is expected in different situations.
Again, like cooking, you really only need to know how to make the things you eat (unless you are a professional). This is also true in dog training. Every household with a dog will require a different set of commands that their dog will need to be able to follow.
“In this excerpt from page 55 of Please Don’t Bite the Baby, I list what I consider to be the standard set of skills every dog should have.
“basic skills to build a foundation for communicating with and verbally managing your dog are critical with a baby in the home.
- All done teaches your dog that the game or activity is over. You will need to provide rewards for the first several weeks whenever you say “all done.”
- Come should be paid for exceedingly well for the first six months. Jackpot your dog when he gets to you, and when fading rewards, only reduce to intermittent rewards. Your dog should get a reward for come every now and then, forever.
- Down: Your dog’s entire body is lying down; butt, hips, and elbows are touching the floor.
- Drop it (some use give): Your dog should drop items from her mouth on command. This should be one of the greatest games you ever play with your dog so she loves to give up things.
- Go say hello: Your dog will move forward to greet a person without jumping.
- Go sniff: You can direct your dog away from anything or any- one, including your baby, with a simple hand gesture.
- Leave it: Your dog should not go toward, sniff, pick up, or bark at an object that you indicate. In short, this command means “Don’t even think about it.”
- Off: Your dog should get off the counter, the couch, you, your guests, or anything he is on. Do not use down. Human language works having one word mean different things in different contexts, but dogs need each command to have one meaning.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
- Settle: Your dog should relax on cue in a spot you indicate.
- Sit: Your dog’s butt is on the floor. Don’t repeat your command. Sit is the most often repeated command. This repetition teaches dogs to sit on three or four commands or to ignore the command, or it just cranks up their energy.
- Stand: Your dog is standing still on all four feet. This command allows you to wipe paws, do tick checks, and make sure your dog doesn’t think sit is just the beginning of down by allowing you to use stand between a sit and a down.
- Stay: Your dog is essentially frozen in place. She is at military attention until you release her with the all-done command.
- Wait is the equivalent of “hang on a second.” Your dog should literally pause for two to thirty seconds—it is a short break in your dog’s activity.
Over the next several weeks, I will be posting more detailed descriptions and videos of each of these.