Welcome to dog month, CHS supporters! Today, we’re sharing with you our top pics for the behaviours and skills that all dogs should know!
Loose leash walking – Loose leash walking is an important safety skill for dogs and humans alike. Loose leash walking not only makes the afternoon stroll more relaxing, but safer. A sudden leash pull can knock a human (especially a senior or child) off-balance while constant straining against a collar can cause tracheal injury in canine companions.
“Leave it!” – Leaving an item alone is a vital skill. Whether it is a dropped piece of medication or an abandoned food container on a walk, a well-learned “leave it” command can help prevent Fido from gobbling up a dangerous snack.
Recall – Coming when called, first time and every time, has rescued many a dog from a dangerous situation. Recall commands can call dogs away from traffic, prevent them from approaching unfriendly dogs or create distance between your dog and other potential hazards.
“Sit!” – Sitting is a classic skill that serves as a foundation to build other skills. In addition to being a foundational skill, sitting can be a useful behaviour because it is incompatible with other undesirable behaviours, making it a great alternative behaviour to reward!
“Drop it!” – Sometimes, despite our best efforts, Fido gets ahold of something dangerous or inappropriate. Teaching a “drop it” skill provides you with a safe way to retrieve an item from your dog. One important note: when teaching behaviours like “leave it” or “drop it”, keep it fun for your dog by ‘trading up’ for a more desirable treat when the drop it or leave it behaviour is performed.
Focus or “watch me” – Key to teaching many other skills, the ability to focus is something many dogs need to practice. Teaching your dog name attention and focus will help them respond better to other commands.
“Stay!” – Much like recall behaviours, learning to “stay” is an important skill for every dog to learn. The “stay” command can also help to keep a dog away from dangerous situations or can buy you extra time to evaluate a situation before acting.
“Wait!” – Similar to stay, this command can be very useful at corners when you need to look for traffic or when unloading out of a car into a parking lot. Knowing that your dog will “wait” in the back seat instead of bolting out the car door brings peace of mind as well as safety.
Release – Teaching your dog a set release cue gives you a way to end a stay, sit or wait.
Polite Greetings – Teaching your dog to greet other people and animals with “four on the floor” prevents accidental scratches and falls from excitable jumping and pawing, particularly if children visit often.
How can I teach my dog these skills?
A structured behaviour class is a great way to help you and your dog build an even better relationship while you both learn important skills. Calgary Humane Society offers a wide variety of behaviour classes for Fido. Polite Pooches is a great choice for dogs looking to build basic obedience skills while Fearful Fido or Reactive Rover will help you address specific behaviour concerns.
Wondering if a class is the right fit for your dog? Looking for some tips on how to brush up Fido’s manners? Call Calgary Humane Society’s FREE behaviour helpline at 403-723-6019 to speak with one of our incredible behaviour counselors!