What skills should your dog know to make him a great dog? Here are my top five favorite skills.
1. Hand touch
A hand touch is when the dog touches his nose to your hand. This is the skills I ask for the most from my dog. I can use it as a recall, for moving her on/off the couch, moving her out of the way in the hallway, or when I am asking for attention on a walk.
It has so many uses and is one of the first things I teach my dog.
2. Go to bed
When I need my dog to go away from me I can use go to bed. I combine this with a relaxation protocol. This allows me to send my dog to her bed when I need time to myself. If I need her to relax while I’m working or if I need her out of the way as I am cleaning up broken glass. Also if you have a multidog household this can allow you to position on of your dogs while working with the other one.
3. Auto check in
When out and about I want my dog to look at me and be aware of where I am. I reward her for looking at me when out and about.
4. Leash Skills
Leash skills are important for not having a frustrating walk. It can be awful to walk a dog to walk a dog who is pulling at the end of the leash. This skill can take a while to train but can be worth it in the end.
5. Don’t rush out the door
Rushing out the door can be a huge safety issue. Whether you live on a busy street, or your dog like to chase critters or you just don’t want to be knocked over when trying to go out the door.
These skills are very useful for life. It doesn’t matter if your dog knows a lot of tricks or just one. Sit wasn’t one of my top skills even though it is often one of the first things people teach their dog. It doesn’t make it bad if your dog doesn’t know how to sit. It only matter that your dog is safe and doesn’t annoy you.