This could possibly be the shortest blog in history. Essential behaviours your dog must learn? Well, that’ll be none. Nothing, zilch, nowt, zero.
I guess I should explain. Many dog trainers and books will tell you that your dog must learn how to sit, down, recall, walk on a loose lead and many other behaviours which come from the world of competitive dog obedience. But, in reality, your dog only needs those behaviours which are important to you and to your lifestyle.
Let me give you an example. I’m lucky that I live in a very rural area where I can let the dogs out of the gate and they can run across the fields, often going out of view but safe in the knowledge that they’re not going to meet cars or come across other people.
So I could spend time and effort teaching the dogs loose lead walking but I’m not going to use it other than for the annual trip to the vets.
I could train a down stay but again I have just never had the need to use one. Now I know you’re going to say that there might be an emergency where I need my dog to stay in one place, yep, absolutely so that’s why I always have a dog lead with me, clip on the lead, tie to a tree, sorted. Much more reliable than most dogs down stays, particularly in an emergency type situation.
So what I’m trying to say is, think about what behaviours you realistically need your dog to know. For many people, they are going to be things like –
– Settle in the house when we’re watching tv or eating
– Be able to lie quietly when we go out to new places
– Greet people politely
– Travel in the car calmly and quietly
– Enjoy a game of tug or fetch so that we can play together
These are the life skills which will ensure you have a great relationship with your dog, a dog who can go places with you, share new experiences and be a fantastic companion.