Teaching your dog many different commands and tricks is GREAT! Every time you and your dog connect through the process of communicating, understanding and responding to each other, your bond and the mutual respect increases. Whether you train your dog in an obedience school, by following the instructions from Youtube videos or joining a doggy dance class, training is fun, meaningful and helpful. But it isn’t strictly necessary.
As a dog owner, for everyday life with kids, cars, grocery shopping, walking in the dog park and snuggling up in front of the TV, you only need THREE commands: Stay, Free (release) and Come.
If your dog knows to stay outside the kids’ toy room, then it won’t be stealing any toys. If your dog knows to stay out of the hallway, when the doorbell has rung, then it won’t jump on your visitors. If your dog knows to stay in the car when you open up the doors, then it won’t jump onto the road. If your dog knows to stay alone in public, then you can nip into a shop and make a quick purchase while it waits outside. If your dog knows to stay on its bed, then it won’t try to get up on the couch, or if it is allowed on the couch, then it can stay at the other end of the couch, while you enjoy a TV dinner.
Personally, I’m not at all concerned about whether the dog is standing, sitting, or lying down while in stay command. I just want it to be quiet and stay in command until I give the release command.
Not many people are familiar with the concept of a release command, but it is in fact very important. Without knowing exactly when it is free to stop following your command, your dog will not know how long to continue following the stay command.
Therefore you will never get a good reliable stay command, unless you also consistently use a release command.
If your dog knows to come when you call it, then you will be able to call it to come outside the house, or come into the laundry, or come into the car, or come to you in the park and on the beach. This is no doubt, an essential skill.
Again, personally I’m not at all concerned whether it comes and sits, or comes and walks around my right side to end up sitting on my left side, or comes because I call out Buddy, come or chicken. I just want the dog to come to me, close enough and for long enough for me to take hold of the dog collar…with dignity!
With this article, I have no intention whatsoever of discouraging further training of your dog. In fact I highly recommend it. I just wish to point out to those of you, who feel too busy to allocate time for training your dog, that only three simple commands can make your everyday life a whole lot easier and save you some time.
If you would like to get started training your dog to stay or come when you call, please check out our workshops schedule. We often train both in our Out & About Obedience and Recall classes.