Importance of Training Your Dog

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We don’t discuss dog training very much here at SlimDoggy. Mainly because we are not dog trainers and to be honest, not even very good at training our dogs. We train them just enough so they are as well-behaved as we need them to be.
Quite a justification, huh? Maybe we’re just lazy. But, it’s honest and one of the reasons we have Labradors – they are pretty easy to train. They may be full of mischief, but they are easily trained and anxious to please us.
Having said admitted that, I can attest to the importance of training, even if it is minimal. There are many times through the years I was thankful that my dogs knew how to sit, lie down, walk politely at my side and wait patiently for their dinner. These would come in handy at the Vets, when dining out or just walking the neighborhood.
Importance of Training your Dog
But there is much more to training your dog than those few simple commands and some of them can be lifesavers.
I REALLY wish that I had worked with Jack on the “leave it” command more consistently. Once he has a hold of something, there is no letting go. I know this has played havoc with his stomach as he will eat any dead animal he comes upon, no matter how old and disgusting. And sticking my hand in his mouth to try and wrench it out of there is NOT a good idea.
I wish I had worked on the “stay” command with Maggie more diligently. She will sit and lie down just fine, but sometimes her fears will take over and she’s outta there, no matter what I say. This is a particular problem when I take them in the car somewhere and she wants to jump out the rear of the car instead of waiting for me to put the steps down. Sometimes she just has to get out and there is no stopping her. I cringe when I see her jump out and land on her bone-cancer riddled leg, always afraid she is going to hurt it. A good “Stay” would be helpful.

Recall was always a challenge for my dogs. I used to say that Sally had “selective” hearing, meaning she would hear me calling her and come back when she felt like it. Tino was much more reliable at recall unless he was chasing an animal and then all bets were off. Becca was probably the most reliable and that was because she was a trained service dog. Her recall was good, but her “stop barking” I would grade as an F. Jack was usually reliable until he started to loose his hearing, now he’ll come if he hears me, but that only if I’m really close to him. Maggie has an interesting recall when we are walking. She won’t come to us, but she will at least stop and wait for us to catch up to her.

My personal belief is that recall is probably the most important command you can teach your dog. It keeps them out of harms way. Too many dogs are lost, hit by cars or get into dog fights because they don’t have a good recall. I don’t have any magic method for teaching recall but I’d like to open up our comments for you to add your tricks – what has worked for you – how did you get your dog to come when called? If it’s still a work-in-progress, that’s okay, just tell us what you’re working on.


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  1. It is so sad to see dogs that have had no training at all. So many of them end in shelters.
    jan recently posted…That sissy-ass dog can hunt?My Profile

  2. With Sam, EVERY command is a continual work in progress. 😉 That said…he’s ‘mostly good’ (thank heavens). I’m a bit of a training fail but have been consciously working at it more of late and came to the conclusion that more work = more rewards…for me as well as Sam. You’re right-recall is probably the single best command for our fur-kids.

  3. We aren’t big on obedience training. We have the basics down, but recall isn’t good if we are “busy”, stay works most of the time. We do things well enough for our lifestyle, but certainly won’t win any obedience awards! Leave it is one thing we do pretty well and it is an important one.
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  4. We have worked really hard to have a dog that listens and obeys almost all of the time. With all of the training my favorite thing she knows is boundary work. Our dog will not leave the front door or the outside yard gates without permission. Many people rely on using the word stay if they don’t want their dogs to go out the door. My question with this is what happens if your guests/kids forget to tell your dog to stay and then accidentally leave the door/gate open? Teaching this one skill might save your dogs life. If you are interested in learning about teaching your dog this I would recommend reading this blog and watching the video.

    Happy Training!

  5. I am a big obedience trainer. That said, my present boy is the most difficult – I think in general, girls are easier – at least that has been my experience. I agree that the Recall is the most important. And heeling strictly beside me off leash, without stopping to say hello or sniffing, has been the most impossible task for him to complete. It’s a never-ending struggle!
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  6. Recall is something Diego and I are working on together currently. As a puppy he had such a solid recall, and then I let the training slip and he has got into some bad habits of selective hearing. He loves to run across parks to find out what other people are getting up to, whether they have a dog or not. After him doing that once, I decided to get back into training. Now I take along very smelly, and tasty treats and whenever he returns to me, I treat him. He has so far learnt that this is great, and will come back 99% of the time. When I think he might do a runner, I put him on the lead until the distraction is gone.

  7. Have you met Bentley and Pierre? LOL! They are leashed trained and can do some fun tricks but as far as being obedient? Bassets are a lifelong work in progress. ♥
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  8. I agree about the recall. I make it our #1 priority with our dogs. The first key thing is to make it the most exciting thing that they do all day – either with a treat party or with a tug toy. I have one toy that I use with Shyla only for recall rewards, and she adores that toy. I think that the second key thing is to practice around the distractions that are important to you. With our dogs, I practice where there’s strong scent of wildlife that was there recently – as preparation for the day that they see a herd of elk and need to recall. I use a long line when I start this process.

    A third key thing is to do restrained recalls. Have a partner hold your dog back (around the chest, not the neck) and run away acting incredibly exciting. Then, as you’re still running away, your partner releases your dog (who should be crazed with excitement). The dog chases you down and gets a jackpot or a great game with a toy.

    I have a question for you – we just got a Fitpaws peanut and exercises from our vet to do with R on it. I posted a video of us on my blog. If you have experience with a peanut, would you have time to give us feedback about how to make our peanut exercises better? We’ve been using it for only 5 days so maybe it will just take time. But I thought I’d ask in case you know some tricks. Thanks!
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  9. Luke is our first dog that we’ve done more extensive training with. The girls are pretty much like your dogs….they take or leave some commands (or do it their own way – “close enough is good enough”). I have certainly seen the advantages now of having better trained dogs, and I do wish they were all better. Luke is still a work in progress, but he can also still get led astray by his sisters (especially Cricket, she sure has that beagle independence).
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  10. We all have things we should of worked on more.
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  11. My huMom would confess that although I am quite bright & have learned many commands, once I’m in a whirl or a bark fest, it’s difficult to get my attention for most commands.
    Instead of ‘leave it’ we use ‘ta’ & it works for me.
    With pride I must admit my ‘recall’ is excellent! 3 bum swings!
    My huMom uses tiny little pieces of Bully Liver Treats. They always work at getting my attention. When I hear my huMom call, “Olivia, come!”, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I stop, run to her & sit at her feet. I love this command. It’s the greatest game & I get a pawsome treat!
    CEO Olivia

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