You don’t have to be a dog trainer to teach your dog the three words every dog should know. I wasn’t when I started. In fact, I was just 14 years old with my very first dog ever, a black Lhasa Apso puppy I named “Pepper”.
Back then, I didn’t know anything about dog psychology; I just knew I wanted to form a bond with my dog. That’s one of the great advantages of dog obedience training. It’s not about military style control; it’s about creating a line of communication, strengthening your bond, and also giving your dog a sense of accomplishment. They do feel it. I know firsthand.
I started out with Pepper in an obedience class I found in the local phone book. The very first week’s class was a simple task: teach your dog to sit. Seemed easy enough, and the instructions were clear. However, doing the work at home, I was pretty sure by the middle of the week that I had somehow gotten the stupidest puppy in the litter.
Every day after our little training session, I ended the time with play and treats to make it a positive experience for both of us, even though I was getting a little worried that my puppy was going to be an obedience school drop-out. Then, just a couple days before the next class, as I was trying to teach Pepper to sit—click! The light bulb went on. I could see it in her eyes as she plopped her rear-end down and looked up at me with extreme pleasure.
She understood . . . and she knew she understood. From then on, each command took less time to learn and not only did Pepper not become an obedience school dropout, she graduated with the highest score in the obedience trial held at the end of classes.
Pepper lived to a ripe old age of 18, and went on to many show-ring accomplishments. I was hooked. From then on in, every dog I owned was taught the basic commands and more.
Never during that time, did I realize that all of the fun and thrill of such great communication between my dogs and me might someday become even more important. I never imagined that three simple words that every dog should know might someday save the life of a treasured companion.
How a Few Dog Training Tips Saved a Life
That brings me to the present day. I now have a little Papillon named Batty, who is my treasured friend. I no longer compete in dog shows, but I still teach any dog I own the basic obedience commands “sit, stay and come.”
Not too long ago, I let Batty out in the yard to do her thing. My back was out from an injury I got moving some furniture, and I could barely move. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the postal worker who delivers our mail had failed to close and latch the gate to the yard. When I went to let Batty back inside, I was horrified to see that the gate was swinging open, and Batty was across the street sniffing around the neighbor’s yard.
With her great sense of hearing, she heard the door open, looked up and started to barrel towards me. From the corner of my eye, I saw the car coming down the street. It didn’t take a second to realize the car would intercept my dog, and I immediately screamed “Batty SIT!”
If I hadn’t already been in pain, I probably would have laughed at the sight of my little 8-pound Papillon sitting mid-air and sliding to a stop, just inches from the curb. I yelled “stay” as the car sped by. With my back the way it was, there was no way I was going to be able to rush out and grab her, so I left her there until I looked about and was sure no other danger existed, and then yelled for her to “come.”
Batty bounded across the road, into the yard and up the stairs to sit in front of me with a look of joyous glee. She had no idea how close she came to being a black and white spot on the pavement.
Would the car have stopped? I’d like to think so, but I’m not sure that it would have been in time. Batty is small, low to the ground and a blur of fur when she runs. The driver probably wouldn’t have even seen her until it was too late.
Batty got lots of her favorite treats that day. She loves Bully Sticks. I usually ration them out, but that day she got all she wanted.
Before you think that Batty’s well-trained attitude was the result of years of training, I should mention that, at the time of the incident, she was barely a year old. She is sitting here with me now, just a few months older, and I envision the time we will have together, knowing she has the opportunity to live a long and happy life thanks to those three little words.
How to Learn Dog Commands
If you have a new dog in your life, or even an old one, don’t put off teaching them the three little words that may someday save their lives. Accidents happen when you least expect them.
If you’ve never trained a dog before, you can get dog training tips from many online resources. Check out your local community center or park department. Many have dog obedience training for free or low prices. Some pet store chains also offer dog obedience training tips and classes.
It’s never too late, and training your dog to stay and obey other commands is a lot of fun. You can even impress your friends by teaching your dogs tricks.