Commands Your Family Dog Needs to Know
Along with regular exercise and veterinary checkups, good obedience training is a must for a family dog.
In addition to the usual sit, down and heel, teach your dog these skills:
* Go to your spot. This sanity-saver gives your dog a place to go when things get chaotic. Put your dog’s crate or bed in a quiet spot. Toss a treat onto it and tell your dog, “Go to your spot.” Let children know the dog is not to be disturbed when he’s in his spot.
* Leave it. This command keeps the dog from pouncing on dropped bottles or pacifiers. With the dog on a lead, put a dog treat on the floor and tell him, “Leave it.” The second he stops trying to get at it — and especially if he looks up at you — quickly give him an even better treat from your hand (like cheese or a tidbit of chicken) and praise him.
* Off. The last thing you need when you’re carrying your baby is the dog jumping up on you, too. Teach him “off” by never, ever touching him when he jumps up on you; don’t even push him away. Instead, turn your back so he drops down to all fours. Then, bend down to pet him.
Kathleen M. Reilly is a former dog trainer and vet assistant who frequently writes on pets and parenting topics. She lives in the Triangle area.