Today we’re going to talk about a few great lifesaving tricks to teach your dog. Doing tricks is something that is synonymous with dogs. We love to teach them to sit or play dead. In some cases, people teach their dogs to get their mail or bring them items from around the house. Tricks are about the cutest thing a dog does. Did you know, though, that another bonus of having a sack full of tricks is that they can actually help you keep your dog safer in the long run?
Related: Training Your Dog to Do Tricks
Lifesaving Tricks to Teach Your Dog
Most people equate dog tricks with a cute activity that is both adorable and mentally stimulating to their pets. While this is true, the side most people don’t think about is how these tricks can be used to help keep their pets safe in certain situations. Let’s run through a list of lifesaving tricks to teach your dog and just how they can be used to help keep Fido safe.
While “sit” is often used to keep your dog from misbehaving in certain situations or as a way to make him “work” for a reward, it can also be used to help keep him out of harm’s way. I dog who really knows sit – REALLY knows it will stay in “sit” until you call him out of it. This is useful when you have a ton of groceries in the car, and you can’t keep the door to your house shut or if you’re taking him to the vet or groomer, and you don’t want him to bolt out of the car. Another great use of this command is to make it one that you don’t even have to say. For example, teaching your dog that “sit” is an automatic at street corners is a proactive way to prevent him from tugging on the leash out into the street. Again, your dog must be extremely well-versed in “sit” for this to be viable.
Like “sit”, “lie down” is an excellent command for keeping your pooch planted in one spot. It’s useful for allowing your dog to mellow out in situations where he might be getting too excited. It’s also another useful command for the reasons listed above in the “sit” section.
“Stay” goes hand-in-hand with “sit” and “lie down” on the doing tricks for safety list. Although a dog who is well-versed in “sit” and “lie down” should stay there until called out of it, consider “stay” the security blanket. A dog who really gets “stay” will do exactly what the command says. He’ll stay where you plant him until you call him out of it. It’s an excellent way of adding an extra layer of security to the above commands.
“Come” is a tough one for many dogs to master, but it can be a lifesaver – literally. Doing tricks for safety should always include this command. It is essential for pulling your dog out of a dangerous situation or just recalling him when he’s wandered too far afield. They key to making this one work is giving him his absolute most favorite treat in the world ONLY when he does this particular command. Even if you have to keep a baggie of sticky peanut butter in your pocket as a reward for this command, it’s worth the risk of a sticky pocket to ensure that your dog rockets back to you on command.
“Leave It’ is another extremely important command when doing tricks for your dog’s safety. “Leave It” allows you to stop your dog when you see him getting into something dangerous, whether it’s a puddle of anti-freeze or a bee. It’s an excellent tool for stopping fights or chases before they happen, and it’s useful to prevent your dog from tackling a new face to say “Heya! Let’s play!”
“Drop It” is a command with a similar purpose to “Leave It”. “Drop It” is employed when your dog gets something in that split-second that you weren’t looking. Whether it’s a disgusting or dangerous human object or a little baby bunny that he found particularly interesting, “Drop It” allows you to avert intestinal disaster or the death of a fuzzy little creature.
“Heel” is another excellent command to teach when focusing on dog tricks for safety. Heel is useful when you need to take short trips to an from various areas in your yard without a leash. It’s also an excellent tool when leash walking to keep your dog safely at your side and out of trouble.
Only Take Treats from Mom or Dad
While not exactly in the realm of dog tricks, it’s important for your dog to know that you and ONLY YOU are the giver of treats. As horrible as it is, there are creepshows out there who get off on hurting animals. When I worked at the vet, we had a few cases of both dog and cat poisonings which were intentional. It’s heartbreaking that there are people so cruel out there, but there are. So teach your dog that you are the treat master.
Doing Tricks and Playing It Safe
If you own a dog, chances are you’re already doing tricks with your fuzzy friend. That’s a good thing because not only is it super cute to watch your little buddy do all the amazing things he’s learned, it can actually help keep him safe. So continue on with doing tricks and know that your dog is both more adorable and safer for it.