Your #1 Priority Command

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by yoyopoodle, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    I know most of us here are very focused on tricks and fun stuff, meaning we use positive training methods and generally no/mild corrections, and don't have consequences when our dogs don't respond fully on the first command.

    My question is, do you have any commands that you absolutely require your dog to respond to immediately? Generally I'm assuming these would be safety related.

    The only command that I use this way for Charlie is the 'drop'. No matter where he is, what he's doing, or what is happening around him, when he hears the command he hits the ground. I train it mostly while he's playing with other dogs, so it's more of a game the way he sees it - enforced by a verbal correction and a couple of steps in his direction.

    It has come in handy on numerous occasions, most recently when I took Charlie to a farm. Charlie hasn't met many horses before, but is well-socialized so I wasn't expecting any problems. The horses live with a bunch of Standard Poodles, so they were fine with him - I just brought him over on-lead to let them meet (with the fence between them), and when everything seemed fine (all animals went back to minding their own business/hanging-out), I let Charlie off-lead.
    I was told that the only dangerous horse was the stallion WAAAAY over on the other side of the property, and that he may try to kill a dog.
    Charlie had been paying attention to me so I didn't think it would be any problem, but maybe the wind changed because he suddenly realized there was another 'guy' around and took off towards him, not aggressive, but very dominant.

    Charlie completely ignored my calls, and started bouncing around just outside the fence barking and harrassing the stallion, who was bucking/kicking and yelling right back. Of course I was quickly making my way over to grab/herd Charlie away, but as soon as Charlie backed out of kicking range for a second I shouted 'Down!' and he dropped down where he was, though still had all his focus on the horse. He remianed there until I reached him, at which point his focus shifted back to me and he was all happy and ready to get back in the car.

    So, what commands, if any, do you all have that are 'serious' ones? Any experiences of when it came in handy (or you wished you had already taught it)? :dogsmile:

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    Response to name or the Come command is the most important one to train, especially in a variety of environments and distractions.

    Nothing worse than a dog running towards a road and there is nothing you can do about it.
  3. dat123 Experienced Member

    My most important commands that MUST be obeyed are "come" and " wait ".
    The come for obvious reasons that Jean mentioned but also want the dog to know I'm in control, and I call the shots.
    The wait command is essential for training. What I mean for wait is, stop what your doing, stay still, I allow them to move their head or look around, figit a little,but must not move their paws until I give a word. Considering my dogs get very excited, and will often try to predict what I'm going to ask for, I need a command that says, hang on I'll give you the next instruction..listen ! I think it also creates a strong team bond between human and dog. If they do exactly what I want, they get twice as much freetime to do whatever they want.
  4. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    Dat123 - I've been using a more informal wait (meaning 'pause for a sec'), for the training purposes you describe, but I think I should make it more strict like yours (don't move feet, mainly)... how about the command 'freeze!' :D

    Ahh yes, recall is extremely important too! That is another one of my 'must' commands, but the trainer in me won't say the word if there is a reasonable chance Charlie won't listen. It's like torture trying to get the word out!
    His recall is awesome, but there are certain stimuli that Charlie *will not* turn away from. Namely, a large male animal that is actively focussed on him in a hostile manner. I can probably train him to back-up until he gets to me, but no way will he break eye contact with them. Probably one of the only things about an intact male that I haven't had luck training out of Charlie...
  5. storm22 Experienced Member

    i have a couple of commands that my dogs have to listen too, first thier name (they usually come back to me if i call it) then LEAVE IT they usually stop dead on that command (kodas still learning it but shes getting there) its funny with storm cause i can tell him to leave it but if still wants to go where hes looking he sit there looking at whatever hes going for, and look back at me pleading to go for it, sometimes if its a ball he'll brake from his sit and crawl towards it slowly as if hes not moving
  6. l_l_a New Member

    For us it is without a doubt the recall. Most of our daily training is recall training (proofing around distractions).

    And yes I have used the recall successfully in an emergency so I continue to work on proofing it. I also use it daily as we often exercise off leash in (safe) areas that allow dogs to be off leash if they are under voice control.
  7. hivin New Member

    Hi everyone:

    For us it was "stop", "look", and "come", in that order ... we lived on a very busy road and if Bailey ever took off after one of the feral cats and managed to get across the road we didn't want the only command she'd absolutely respond to, to be come. We wanted to make sure we could get her to stop before crossing or to stop and wait for the come command if she ever made it across the road and was separated from us ... look was to make sure she was paying attention to us when commands were being given. Thank goodness she never did follow one of those cats onto the road ... think I'd have had a heart attack on the spot if she did.

    Take care all: Hivin
  8. marysia_p17 New Member

    For me the most important command is a recall. I have three recall command: for normal, daily work, for formal, sport obedience recall and "emergency recall" - very strong and very important.
    Second most important it would be "down" command - because it is sometimes easier or/and safer to stop the dog than to recall him.
  9. CollieMan Experienced Member

    Mine is down. This is practised so much and it's vital for us. Where we walk each day is a busy cyclist route, and this command has proved so valuable so many times. The very second that I see or hear a cyclist, I just shout "down", and Ellie lays down instantly so that the cyclist can avoid her. If I used a recall then Ellie would still be a fast moving hazard for the cyclists.

    The value of this was proved once again to me a couple of evenings ago. We were walking along and I saw a cyclist heading towards us. I issued a down and she went down without problem. The other dog walker, walking towards me seemed to have next to no control over his dog. The dog continued to run and eventually jumped right in front of the cyclist. She had to slam her brakes on, and so nearly went over the handlebars. What did the dog-walker do? Walked off muttering "stupid dog". Not so much as an apology to the cyclist. The cyclist was clearly very shocked and not in the least bit pleased.
  10. danemommy New Member

    What a great thread! For me the most important command with Nano is the recall command. I work on his recall everyday with his name as the command. I've never had him off leash anywhere but our back yard so I have no idea how well he'd respond if there were distractions. Is there a way to teach him in a distracted place on leash if I don't have a 2nd person to help?

    Reading about some of you having your dogs do a fast down is really making me think that might be valuable for Nano too. He will do down but he's as slow as a turtle right now. What can I do to get him to react faster? LOL, I know he can move faster I ask him to shake and his paw is out there before I get the word totally out of my mouth. :msnsmile:
  11. storm22 Experienced Member

    the best thing to do is have him on a long lead (we got a lunge lead from the saddlers), its about 8meters long and it great for teaching recall from a distance and you still have control of them, and have them in a quiet place with not many distractions as just being out if the back yard is a big distraction,

    kodas learning her recall now to so she can run with storm and know to come back when i call instead of following storm back, shes been off a couple of times now and going really good just sometimes if shes too far away she'll come back but get distracted by a smell or storm still running round so i have to get her attention again but having that long lead is handy i'll take it in my backpack with treats when we walk, so i can practice in different enviroments and storm as the distraction, he seems to know he's the distraction and rushes at her when were working so he had to do work to which was good for him
  12. CollieMan Experienced Member

    What you're referring to is frequently called the training latency.

    There is an article about how to deal with it here.
  13. danemommy New Member

    Thanks for this tip. I'm going to go pick up a long lead tomorrow so we can get practicing. :dogsmile:

  14. danemommy New Member

    Thanks so much for this link CollieMan, this sounds like exactly what Nano and I have going on! I saved that website as a favorite, there are so many great articles in there. :dogsmile:

  15. blisandt New Member

    I have down really well with my JackaBea... and excellent recall... but the most important is when I say his name he turns and looks at me for instruction. This mean I can stop him from what he is doing, or get him out of the way of anything happening.

    Great thread!
  16. szecsuani Experienced Member

    For me, Come, Wait, and Stop.
    Come becouse I can call her back from anywhere, when I need to.
    Wiat, becouse sometimes she HAS to stay in one place and wait for other commands.
    Stop, becouse this is what I use when she is crossing a road. She stops, waits for me to reach her, and if I say she can go, she goes. (I'm working on leaving the command, which in hungarian is "Ãllj", by the was...:))
  17. l_l_a New Member

    Like Collie Man, I've had 'emergency" situations concerning cyclists! the combination of bicycles and dogs can be a disaster waiting to happen!

    A few months ago we were off leash in an empty field when suddenly a very fast moving bicycle came speeding along on the opposite side of the field, far away. My dog, who has a high prey drive, saw this and instantly took off across the field toward the cyclist! (Might I also add that bikes are not allowed on that path, so this cyclist was breaking the law, but oh well....) We've trained him to not chase bikes that pass us daily on our walks, but I guess from that faraway distance this bike must have looked like some novel prey animal instead and it just triggered my dog's chase instinct. I was in a panic seeing him running across the field toward it because I had no idea what he would do if he caught up to the bike, and for the poor cyclist, seeing a 95-lb german shepherd come running at you full speed is a very frightening experience! (even if no one got hurt, it is still unacceptable for your dog to be scaring people and could be a potential suit.) I screamed the recall command the loudest I ever have, and my shepherd immediately broke off his chase, almost tripping himself up in the process, and came tearing back to me. I just about collapsed in a nervous heap on the ground with him all over me licking my face, and I don't think the cyclist ever saw him. Phew!!

    THIS is the reason we train recall so much, I try to have it really ingrained in him because he has a high prey drive that the smallest things can trigger his chase instinct! And you can never know when some unusual distraction will spring upon you when you are least expecting it. This is also why we have to be very careful about where we go off leash (not near traffic because you may not even have time to recall your dog), or use a long line instead, you just never know.

    to be fair, I've been on the receiving end as a cyclist (and runner) being chased by dogs!! Some just wanted to play and would run alongside me barking, others were of more concern.....
  18. nereis Well-Known Member

    For us it's down as well. It's the one I've worked hardest to get at a distance, and with distractions.
  19. drivingtenacity New Member

    I proritize the 'stop' command. Outside, she's always on-leash, so the recall doesn't seem as important, but stop gets used daily, and it's a good way to remind her that an open door is not an invitation to go adventuring.
  20. night watch New Member

    You folks are GREAT

    The more I read here the more I apreaciate this site and its members! Its refreshing to see dog owners today w/ so much focus on the dogs saftey as a priority! I've seen far to many people let their dog roam freely while they pay little or no attention to what he/she is doing. Awareness and preparedness go a very long way to a happy healthy and long life for our "fur kids" I agree that the recall command should be a priority as well as leave it also I use cease as a solid whatever your doing STOP. All of these are for her saftey and the saftey of humans as well. Once again thank you all.

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