By Beth Aldrich from Monument Dog Training
January is National Train Your Dog Month! With this; many people may be examining their own dog to see if training is needed. There is a wide range of training out there and you can go from obedience champion level on down to basics that could be life saving. The numbers of dogs euthanized each year due to behavior issues is staggering and more than any other health issue COMBINED. Behavior wellness is just as important as your yearly check up with your Vet.
A few things all dogs should do on command reliably and under distraction.
1) Sit -having a reliable sit command can make your dog less of a target to other dogs and sets you as the owner up to be in control of any situation that requires your dog to be under command and not asserting itself into a space; for example in a vets office or waiting in line at your local pet shop.
2) Crate - This means you can crate your dog when you are at home or away and have them be in the same calm mental and safe physical state that they were in when they entered the crate. If your dog has severe separation or crate anxiety this can lead to other behavior issues in and out of the home. You need to seek the help of a professional.
3) Heel - This means your dog can walk calmly without pulling by your side through distractions and other dogs. Most all leash reactivity aggression lunging so on and so forth begins behaviorally by tension being applied to the leash and harness or collar mechanism at the wrong time. Constant pressure or tension on the lead is a sure fire way to escalate any situation from goo to bad or bad to worse and is completely preventable by teaching a reliable heel command.
4) Come- In the dog park or after your dog has made a quick escape from the car, house or leash it can be crucial to call your dog back to you on command. This is not simple and takes practice and diligence but in the end could end up saving your dogs life. The reality is if your dog does not come back on command your dog should NEVER be off lead. This includes an open dog park that is fenced in. So go ahead and put that practice in with a professional and teach your dog this life saving skill.
If you need help accomplishing these basics or just want to have a more behaviorally balanced dog please do not hesitate in contacting a professional.
If you would like to visit my website it is monumentdogtraining.com
Beth Aldrich is a certified dog trainer and behavior specialist who has spent almost 8 years in the canine industry of the DC metropolitan area, working as a dog walker, a dog caretaker in a group facility, and a manager of several doggie daycares. Beth works with science-based training methods that give people the knowledge, confidence and information to stabilize communication with their dogs. She also graciously volunteers her time to rehabilitate countless rescue dogs to prepare them for forever homes. Beth serves the DC metro area and more, and she cannot wait to meet and help you and your pup!