The Big Five: Basic Commands that should be in Every Dog Owner’s Toolbox
Have you become the typical one command dog owner, who only knows how to get their dog to sit? Well the time has never been better to increase your command toolbox with the other four basic commands to get more aspects of your dog in control.
Let’s just take a moment for a brief overview of the big five.
Let’s start with the most popular one, the “sit” command, which you may have already mastered. It is important that this command always remains as one powerful syllable in order to put your dog into a sitting position effectively every time. With his bottom on the floor and his head held erect, showing his intent concentration on you.
Next is “down.” This blockbuster is great when you want to keep your dog with you but confined to one specific place. For example, company stops by for a visit and they just are not “dog people,” all you need to do is just put Fido on a down stay. This requires his bottom and rear legs to rest on the floor and the elbows of his front feet to stretch out in front. But the bigger question is, why would anyone have friends who don’t like dogs?
Next is the irreplaceable “stay.” This is invaluable on so many levels when working with your dog. If you stop to chat with a friend while on a leisurely stroll, you don’t want Buddy pulling you all over the place while you are trying to maintain a simple conversation. A simple sit and stay command with hold him in place, or try to control him when someone is at the door, he can’t maul over company and hold a sit stay at the same time.
Since we mentioned our leisurely stroll, this is a good time to discuss “heel.” This is especially important if you have a big dog and want to keep your shoulder socket in place. Nothing is more exasperating than being dragged all over the place when attempting a nice quiet walk with your best bud. His proper heel position is with his neck parallel to your left leg.
But big or small, the most important part of the heel command is to teach and instill attention and control of your dog.
Finally, we come to the most important the command, the “come” or “recall” command. If you don’t train your pup to do anything else this one is a priority. There may come a time when it will save your dog’s life.
Those are the big five – sit, down, stay, come, and heel. These five must be taught to every dog. The training of how to teach these is too much for this brief note, but, you can find training methods for all these commands elsewhere on my site.
Some Commands for Extra Credit
The “leave-it” command is used to dissuade our dog from chomping down or getting involved in things he really shouldn’t.
The “back up” command is less useful for companion dogs, unless your dog has the nasty habit of getting in your way every time you want to walk out the door. This command is primarily used in the training of police dogs and guard dogs.
The “fetch” or “retrieve” command is a great reinforcement strategy for dogs who are obsessed with balls.
The “drop it” command comes in handy when your dog grabs grandma’s purse!