Eight Life Saving Dog Commands Your Dog Should Know


   Whilst we know that lack of obedience training in dogs can lead to a range of problematic behaviors; a dog who does what they want in total ignorance of their owner, not only poses a potential risk to others but also themselves.

This can be more important for bigger dogs, because of their size and power, however, every dog should be well trained and a good citizen.

We may jovially joke about the dog who spotted a squirrel and set to chase, what happens when that dog reaches the end of the side walk and keeps running into traffic?

Here we have put together eight commands that you can easily teach to your dog that can help to keep your dog safe!

1)    Stop

  • This one is perfect if your dog is running towards something he shouldn’t – whether it be a street, other dogs, or humans.  
  • Start in a pretty open space – a yard or garden is perfect. Call Fido to you.   As he’s running towards you, throw a treat behind him so he must stop and turn around.  
  • Repeat.  
  • Eventually, label the behavior and add in “stop” as you throw the treat.

2)    Look

  • Whilst your dog is sat down, hold a treat up in between your eyes.
  • Wait for Fido to make eye contact.  As soon as he does, reward him with that treat.
  • Repeat this lesson.
  • Label the behavior. Slowly, increase the time he needs to make eye contact before he gets his reward.

3)    Leave

  • Walking along the sidewalk, you see days old food going moldy, rather than dragging and pulling Fido away, a simple “leave” is much less stressful. 
  • Start with a treat in your hand. Hold it in front of your dog’s nose. He will likely try to open your hand to get the treat. Don’t let him.
  • As soon as he turns or moves his nose away, give him the treat. 
  • Repeat.
  • Once he’s done this a few times, as he turns or moves his nose away, label the behavior as “leave”

4)    Drop it

  • A perfect command for those situations when your dog has stolen another dog’s tennis ball at the park, or if he’s picked up something which is the perfect size to get lodged in his throat.
  • Start by playing with your dog and give him a toy.
  • Whilst it’s in his mouth, hold out a treat.
  • When your dog drops the toy, give him the treat.
  • The idea is basically a tradeoff. Your dog should learn that when he drops whatever is in his mouth, something good happens.
  • Repeat.
  • Eventually, label the behavior “drop it.”  

5)    Heel

  • Essential for anyone who runs or goes on long walks with their dog.
  • Keep a bag of treats on your hip, in your pocket, or hold a treat at hip height.
  • Intermittently reward your dog when he is walking to heel, merely because he’s sniffing the treats.
  • He’ll soon learn that being there is a good place to be.

 6)  Come

  • The easiest way to start training recall is to have a helper.
  • Your helper should lightly hold your dog’s collar and you, being a good 6-8 feet away, should shout his name (upbeat and high pitched)
  • As soon as you shout, your helper should release Fido. Fido will run towards you.
  • Praise him and give high-value treats, repeat this.
  • Eventually, when he never falters to run to you, introduce the “come” command.  What you don’t want to do is introduce the command too early, and he learns that “come” means, “attempt to run to Mum or Dad, but have a sniff or wander along the way”! You should also be increasing the distance Fido has to run towards you as you train.  

  7) Stay

  • A helpful command if you need to quickly investigate something but need your dog to hang back.
  • For this command your dog should have mastered “down”, ask him to lay down.
  • Hold your hand up and command “stay,” wait a few seconds and reward him. You need to reward him whilst he is laying down still.
  • If you’d rather you can train this in the sit position. Repeat and slowly increase the time before a reward is given; remember to hold your hand up each time. 

 8)  Wait

  • This command is perfect for stopping your dog from running out of the front door and into the street.  
  • Put him on leash by the door.
  • Ask him to sit.
  • Reach for the handle, he’ll probably jump up and get excited. Ignore him and retreat from the door.  Repeat.
  • Again, retreat if he gets excited.
  • As soon as he remains calm and seated when you reach for the handle, reward him. Repeat.  Label the behavior as “wait”.
  • We hope you’ll never need to use these commands in an emergency – but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.