Life sometimes gets in the way of the fun things we want to do. Heck, it even gets in the way of our day to day. Sometimes you find yourself awake at 3am on a workday doing dishes or up at 7am on a Saturday so you can finish up some report due on Monday. Aside from our own life getting out of control, it can ripple out and we may unintentionally neglect our other responsibilities – from a pile of laundry, sink of dishes, and a dog that may not have had a trip the dog park in 2 weeks. Guess what can also get forgotten? Reinforcing commands and tricks.
Yup, you know how it goes. We get into an auto-pilot mode where we open the backdoor and let the dog out, make coffee, let the dog in, feed the pup, and go about our day. The quality time gets shortened, walks become faster and sometimes more agitated, and everyone is stressed. Our dogs may start reacting or acting out and forget to sit at the door before going for walk. They may pull on the leash to sniff that tree and not stay when we need them to. Forgetting commands can make living with your dog frustrating. There is a solution: Consistency.
Yes, it’s tough. Yes, it isn’t always convenient. Yes, our dogs should know their commands. We are the common denominator. We are their pack leader. It’s up to us to retain a routine and make time to remind them of good behaviors and correct bad ones. It’s up to us to manage time and make time for those we like… if we like our dogs, we will make time to show we like them or at least try our best to keep a steady and stable lifestyle for them.
If you feel your pup is starting to forget commands or hasn’t had them reinforced lately, keep it simple and remind your dog the most basic commands.
4 Tricks Every Dog Should Know
- Sit – the staple trick, the first trick. And probably the best trick to teach a dog. Dogs know how to sit, they do it on their own. Remember to reward them, ask them to sit, reinforce the times when to sit – at thresholds, corners on the sidewalk, putting on a leash… etc
- Stay – this is the second command that reminds your dog to not sit, get up, and walk away. Teaching a dog to stay reinforces the control you have and decreases their chances of getting into trouble. The combo of sit and stay can make for a very pleasant walk, answering the front door, and getting their food ready without them bowling you over to get to the bowl.
- Come – good recall is essential if you take your out to the park or in the backyard. Making sure they come back is a great way to cut down on a game of “chase.” Make sure you have some amazing treats for this trick.
- Down/Off – this is two tricks to be honest. I use down to ask dogs to lay down on the ground. It’s important like stay. Down is asking the dog to calm down… lay down… relax and just be. Off, on the other hand, is the command I use to tell them to “get off.” Like off the couch or when they jump up on someone saying “off!” and nudging them back on all fours. Off is great to let them know what is and isn’t appropriate for them to trample, jump, and put their paws on.
What other commands are in your toolbox?
Image from How Stuff Works