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What the best thing you ever taught your dog?

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With a lot of people getting or having gotten new puppies recently (including me, soon!), I figured it would be interesting and perhaps beneficial to see what everyone thinks was their full grown dogs' most important lesson when they were young. What was the most beneficial in making them into the incredible dogs they are today? For example, impulse control, confidence, teaching him to wipe his paws on the friggen doormat...etc.

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The "wait" command. I use it all the time. Before exiting the door, before exiting the car, before they're allowed to eat. Basically it's impulse control applied to a variety of everyday life situations.

 

The other thing I've been working on with Kolt is lots of handling and "chill" or "lay still in my lap". I can carry him a half dozen different ways and he's perfectly fine with it. Upside down, on my shoulders, a more normal right side up carry and more. When he gets wound up and stick him in my lap and he relaxes. I'm seeing great potential value in having a dog that is used to being held any which way and just relaxing with me anywhere.

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I think it was different for each of my dogs. With Lyka she was really hyper and I have had to really work on her impulse control and teach her to not be so bouncy around people. The proudest moment was when we a cousin brought her 8 month old baby over and we had been stressing about Lyka meeting a baby for the first time. At that time she still slipped up and jumped on people from time to time. Imagine our surprise when she just sniffed the baby, gave her a kiss, then layed down. She has also learned to be super careful around my grandpa, who she could easily injure by getting too hyper around him.

 

Then there was Lily she had very little confidence at first. If she met a new person she would cower from them and usually pee a little. Other dogs for her were terrifying and she would try to bolt or hide when meeting them. Now she is able to sniff dogs in her puppy classes and she no longer bolts when a new dog shows up. She now only cowers from humans and pees when she thinks she is in trouble, which for her is a huge improvement.

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Chewies, treats, frozen stuffed kongs, rib bones, turkey necks, etc - ONLY ON THE DOG BLANKET! When I give him something to chew, or I hide something for him to find, he takes it straight to the dog blanket. My carpet stays much cleaner, and I don't step in nasty squishy spots when I'm walking barefooted.

 

And the other thing I like is I taught him to come to my right hand or left hand when I stick that hand out and say, "Right here". I walk him off leash on paths that have some spots where you can't see ahead, and/or cyclists. He comes right to whichever hand and sits. I can put him just about anywhere - out of the path of cyclists, runners, groups of walkers/runners, maintenance vehicles. Cyclists all give me a big smile and nod. We came up a small hill a few days ago and met a bully breed mix at the crest, in an area where I've never met anyone before. Gibbs came right to my hand, the other dog's owner called him back, and everything was dandy.

 

Gibbs came with a lot of good stuff already installed - I'm grateful to Amy and Ray!

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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It's a toss-up between "leave it" (don't touch it, don't do it, drop it, all in one) and "that'll do" which means you are good but you are done.

 

"Leave it" is great when your dog finds something you don't want him/her to touch, to eat, or to bother. It means, "That's not yours and get away from it!" It is for something that is "off limits".

 

For us, "That'll do" means what you are doing or interested in isn't something "bad" but rather that you need to stop what you are doing, turn away from something that's otherwise okay, and so on. It's used for something that is okay normally but now is over, more than enough, and not for now.

 

Well, and a great recall - but for my dog, when a recall doesn't do it, "Leave it!" or "That'll do!" often stops the dog in his/her tracks, and then I can recall when whatever is drawing them, friend or foe, is yelling their name in their own mind.

 

Oh, and "Wait" is another good one. We use it a lot - going through doors, getting into or out of cars and crates, crossing the road.

 

For me, the list of "best" could go on and on...

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Leave it, wait, and a bullet proof sit. BUT my favorite....the command " go wake up ( insert the name of a kid staying with us)" Cody will not bother anyone until he is instructed, but he explodes with glee with the above command. Flies thru the house, jumps on the bed and digs out any child or person who tries to ignore his jubulient good morning.

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Leave it, wait, and a bullet proof sit. BUT my favorite....the command " go wake up ( insert the name of a kid staying with us)" Cody will not bother anyone until he is instructed, but he explodes with glee with the above command. Flies thru the house, jumps on the bed and digs out any child or person who tries to ignore his jubulient good morning.

 

I love that!!!

 

Besides the crucial recall, leave it, etc. I think my favorite that I've taught Tess is "Go Away" It actually happened inadvertently. For me go away is different than "go lay down" The latter means specially go and lay on your bed. Go away means just leave me alone I'm busy, you can go whatever you'd like. It was nice to teach her that she can entertain herself if need me and she doesn't have to be attached at my hip.

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#1 really good recall, this enables me to give him much more freedom than any of my other dogs have had.

 

#2 down while running too or from me, I have used this in a panic situation.

 

#3 leave it

 

#4 stay, this like a good recall enables me to take him places and do things that previous dogs haven't been able to do.

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#1 really good recall, this enables me to give him much more freedom than any of my other dogs have had.

#2 down while running too or from me, I have used this in a panic situation.

#3 leave it

#4 stay, this like a good recall enables me to take him places and do things that previous dogs haven't been able to do.

1. 3. and 4.

 

If only one of those definitely a good recall.

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I didn't teach Juno this but putting her in a crate was the biggest thing for me. Her first ten weeks were in a crate so we just continued. I built her a wooden one in the den that looked a little like the rest of the furniture. At night I say to her "bedtime" and she runs into the crate and lies down. I give her a treat and then I greet her the next morning. When she was younger it was the only way I could get some rest. She never stays longer than 4-5 hours when I go to work but she doesn't mind it and I feel at ease when I'm away. We also put her in the crate when we are eating and now after nine months she never begs for food from the table. Crating would be my number one recommendation.

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The "come along" command. It's lyrical and appeals to BC (I say it in a sing song) and it means "free walk" - or "you get to stay free if you stay close enough to me that I can see you, call you to me quickly or grab you (in case of danger) but you're free to sniff and wander and go off in a different direction for a wee bit". Let's call it the "casual heel".

 

The word "closer" is part of my training vocabulary so it gets used when I want something closer to a "heel" - such as when people are coming or a potential danger exists (a car, another dog, etc.)

 

The leash gets put on if they ignore any of those two commands.

 

They value their freedom so much and see the leash as a somewhat shameful thing. The connection between not following a "come along" or a "closer" and being on a leash is not long in coming.

 

To counter this leash aversion, I have a leather leash with a slightly noisy connector which is used when a leash MUST be used (public spaces, going to the vet, etc.) and they seem to understand that THAT leash is not shameful and does not mean they are bad and do not mind wearing it.

 

I have always pandered to the BC puppies in the sense that they are the only dogs in my experience that seem to care about the difference between wanting to do something and being conditioned to do something - and if you can get them to want to do something, they condition themselves. If you are flexible within your own idea of how things should be done and let them set some of the parameters according to their natural inclinations (such as working dogs and their handlers do) they will WANT to do the things that make you pleased.

 

By the time they're six months old, they see a "come along" as a sort of treat.

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A really reliable recall is absolutely the most important thing I train my dogs. I also very highly value stay/wait and leave it/give. While not as important from a safety standpoint, I love that Quinn is great about picking up items and bringing them to me (dinner bowls, dropped keys, fallen pens) or carrying items to designated places (the laundry drop, the recycle bin, the toy basket). When he was young I had him getting the phone for me, but he lacks a soft mouth so I decided that wasn’t the best idea. Also, he liked to pick up the phone without any cue from me and made a couple phone calls while we were at work. Technology and even bright Border Collies are not necessarily the best mix. :)

 

Ok, and here is a command I just love having and that only a true dog person can appreciate. I taught Quinn to find dog poop for me in the yard. With three dogs and not a huge yard, I am compulsive about picking up after them but with three dogs, I am not always right there the minute they go and sometimes it is hard to locate the poop. Quinn is excellent about pointing out what I am looking for, especially helpful when it is dark or the leaves are falling. The command I use is “Cherchez” so my neighbors wouldn’t know what the crazy lady is talking about behind her privacy fence. :lol:

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The best things Bandit has learned so far:

 

Retrieve the toy to hand, recognize that the click means a treat is coming, do stuff to music (play, move), hand target, do something - anything - on verbal cue.

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Liz, maybe you could teach Quinn to dial the pizza place and then have your pizza delivered 5 minutes after you got home - that would be very impressive AND useful. As long as he understands he's never to call Japan.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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Recall and other off-leash skills are big for me. A default leave-it would be lovely to have and I would work to instil it in any future pups I get.

 

Some of my favourite (but not imperative) skills are retrieving any object to hand (small change, dropped socks, the newspaper, etc), and hind-end awareness. The latter opened up such a wonderful gateway to other, more complex behaviours. Proprioception and a general understanding of shaping is important too.

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All of the above (leave it, drop, wait, all done, come, etc.) but my favorite non-essential is "wiggle." When she's been outside and it's raining, before she can come in she has to shake herself off. I already had "shake" on cue to mean put her paw in my hand....so wiggle it was. It rained today for the first time in many weeks and after letting her out to go to the bathroom this morning I gave the "wiggle" cue....and in came a half-dry dog!

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My dogs are old. They are fairly well behaved. Non border collie world people think they are AMAZINGLY well behaved. I don't remember working hard on training certain things, but I must have. They don't just do this stuff magically! I don't think I could ever do a puppy again!

 

My number ONE important thing is recall. I could not stand to have to have my dogs on leash all the time. Kind of along the same lines is "stay". My dogs used to be much much better at this when they were younger. And if I went back and drilled it again they probably would be better. But in situations where it really counts they are good. For example when we are walking off leash and a car is coming.

 

Leave it is also very important.

 

Something maybe not so critical but makes me chuckle every time now is when we come in from outside and they are wet. I tell them to "wait for towel" and they wait their turn to be toweled off. But the really funny part is how both of them follow the same routine every time. One turns around slowly as I wipe down each leg and foot. The other lies on one side while I towel off and then knows to roll over to the other side. I must have given cues at some point when they were young. I just don't remember. I think this goes to show that you can accidentally train a behavior pretty easily!

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Dear Doggers,

 

I expect a number of specific behaviors which are part of mannerliness. "Wait", "Go pee", "crate" "In the back" (of the crew cab), etc but I can't recall "training them". Some years ago, I did a training demo for pet dog trainers -explaining as I went. When I whistled June's "That'l do" at 200 yards or so and she came at a gallop, it took me a second to realize what the applause was for. Of course my dogs recall. If they've found a carcass, they may dally but not more than a few more bites.

 

The times I remember for years are the moments when the dog figures it out on his/her own and behaves flawlessly in a important new-to-the-dog situation.

 

When I collapsed (dropped her lead) in the checkin line at the Dublin airport, Fly's lying down quietly beside me was the latest instance.

 

Donald McCaig

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It’s hard to say which command is the most important. I would think it would depend on the situation. But, with that said, I think a good recall and Leave It would tie for #1.

 

Leave It-When my mom was living with us she took 8 pills in the morning and 7 pills at night. I am soooo glad my dogs knew the Leave It command when my mom dropped her pills one morning.

 

Drop It-One day my mom dropped a pill and I didn’t realize it until Jake found it. I was at the kitchen sink when I heard a crunch. When I investigated the sound I found Jake next to mom’s chair. When I told him to Drop It you could tell he was trying because of the way he ‘flicked’ his tongue but I was too late….He had already swallowed it. That was the day he got peroxide poured down his throat.

 

Go In/On (insert place)-In our case it’s “Go in the living room”. That one came in handy the night I dropped a glass in the kitchen and it shattered. The dogs tried to come into the kitchen to see what had happened. Also, because our living room is in the back of the house, it comes in handy when someone knocks on the front door or rings the door bell.

 

Down-Several years ago when DH and I took the boys on vacation with us (this was before Josie) we found a fenced in area of a park. After playing a few rounds of Frisbee we told the boys That’ll Do and started gathering up the Frisbees. When we told them we were going to the truck they started running towards it. I thought they would have stopped there but DH didn’t want to take that chance and have them running around the parking lot so he told them “Down!” JJ plopped down and Jake came to a stop. Both waited on us to catch up with them and we loaded them up with no problem.

 

Wait-I crate the dogs every time I take them somewhere. I use this one when we get to our destination and I put their leash on them before letting them out of their crate(s) so they don't rush out and into a parking lot. This one also comes in handy when I’m letting them go outside and have to open the screen door first. I’ve had to place the screen door back on the track before but it’s helped me to teach them the Wait command. ;)

 

Go For Daddy-Silly, I know. It’s not an important command to us but it’s important to the dogs. Every time I tell them that, they know they are going to get a treat. :)

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When she's been outside and it's raining, before she can come in she has to shake herself off. I already had "shake" on cue to mean put her paw in my hand....so wiggle it was. It rained today for the first time in many weeks and after letting her out to go to the bathroom this morning I gave the "wiggle" cue....and in came a half-dry dog!

 

Cute! I love "wiggle" although we call it "fluff". It's extremely useful and oh so easy to train. Every time the dog shakes off just say "Good fluff!" (or whatever cue you want to put on it). Mine figured it out really quickly and it is, as Erin said, extremely useful for coming in from the rain or after a good romp with the water hose. :)

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That's a really hard question. For me, the most important thing a dog comes with is a solid temperament. The most imprortant thing I build with them is a relationship built on mutual trust and respect. The most important thing I think I teach them is a solid recall. My dogs hike reguarly in the woods and from a young age I expect them to recall to my feet, down, and wait while bicycles/bikers/horses pass us on the trail. Sometimes vehicles show up where they aren't expected or a really irritating squirrel appears. A dog that doesn't have a solid recall (over 95% reliability and fast response) either ends up roadkill or a local menace. :unsure:

 

Bethany, Rose, and Loki

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Like others have suggested, the value add is dependent on the dog. For my fearful reactive dog, teaching him to come up and sit between my feet has been awesome...if hes upset about something or I sense he is not comfortable I say "tuck" and he loops behind me, coming up with his head between my legs and the top of his head pressed against me. Its my way of saying "trust me to protect us and stay right here." I can then slip my hand in his collar if I wish, get the lead on quickly, keep people from reaching for him, etc. He LOVES this.

 

For my rowdy loud Papillon its that when I say his name he should tune in because I am then going to ask for him to do something else: recall, shush, pick up the thing next to him, load up, whatever, I say "Jasper" and he looks at me with rapt attentiveness and I can get his attention from a long way off.

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That's a really hard question. For me, the most important thing a dog comes with is a solid temperament. The most imprortant thing I build with them is a relationship built on mutual trust and respect. The most important thing I think I teach them is a solid recall. My dogs hike reguarly in the woods and from a young age I expect them to recall to my feet, down, and wait while bicycles/bikers/horses pass us on the trail. Sometimes vehicles show up where they aren't expected or a really irritating squirrel appears. A dog that doesn't have a solid recall (over 95% reliability and fast response) either ends up roadkill or a local menace. :unsure:

 

Bethany, Rose, and Loki

Hear, hear. I thought about this yesterday, especially the trust issue. I have my own ideas about this and I wrote about it yesterday on my blog. But I felt that what the OP was asking was what command, rather that a broader concept. Ans again, I agree. Solid recall is #1. Everything else is ruffles. They're nice, they're handy. But the recall is the deal. If you want more of this, go here:

 

http://pedanticmystic.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-importance-of-trust.html

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