Pet owners usually invest in dog training to fix problem behavior or brush up on manners, but training can do more than promote polite behavior. A few key commands could one day save your dog’s life. There are three go-to commands that I believe every dog needs to know — for his own safety and the safety of other people and canines he comes into contact with.
3 Crucial Commands
Although there are many behaviors that promote pet safety, there are three basic commands that are especially critical: “down stay,” “drop it” and “come.” Not only should every dog be familiar with these behaviors, but dogs should be trained to perform them anywhere, anytime.
A dog who immediately drops his body into a down, regardless of distance from his owner, will be better able to avoid danger. Search-and-rescue dogs are taught to respond to this command even if they are running at top speed toward a victim or are on top of a pile of rubble. Pet dogs can see similar safety benefits from this training. There are occasions when your dog may find himself in a dangerous situation but calling him to you could actually create a bigger hazard (for example, you’re on one side of the street and your dog is on the other and there’s a car coming). Directing him into a down stay can keep him out of the way and safe until you can get to him.
Everyday household items can be dangerous for dogs — ladies’ underwear is a common choking hazard, but other typical offenders include chicken bones and apple cores. And the most common poison hazards for dogs are human over-the-counter and prescription medications — for some drugs, even a single pill can have devastating effects on a dog. This is why the “drop it” command is so important: Unless a dog has been taught to drop whatever is in his mouth immediately, he may play keep away and swallow the item before you can retrieve it. A dog that understands “drop it” will let go of the item, which can then be taken away, averting a potential disaster.
Come When Called
Dogs are often happily oblivious to potential threats around them, like traffic or poisonous plants, and can easily wander into dangerous — or deadly — situations. Teaching your dog to always come when he is called can help minimize the dangers for a dog prone to dashing out of doors or pulling out of his collar — or one who is simply curious about the world around him. Even the best-behaved dogs may find themselves in dangerous situations and it is truly risking life or death to not instill a reliable recall.