Do you have a new puppy or a new rescue dog and don't know what you should be teaching first? Here is a list of the behaviours, I think you should be teaching your dog in the first few months!
Sit: This behaviour can be a really useful command, and you will probably use it every day with your dogs. It can be used in so many different situations for improving self control. Simply sitting at road sides and greeting people visiting the house or out on the street, is a great way to keep your puppy calm.
Down/Settle: This can be a helpful behaviour when you want your dogs to remain calm and relaxed. For example, settling down for the night or when friends and family have come to visit. Your dog is much more likely to avoid over excitement in these scenarios with a simple down and settle command.
Stand: A stand is encouraging your dog to move too, or remain on all four paws. But this behaviour can be used in situations like putting a harness and lead on, performing health checks and even during grooming routines. Don’t under estimate a good stand command!
Bed: This can be a great one to use if you want your dog to have some 'chill out' time. A good send to bed encourages your dog to remain calm and relaxed, especially if you they are very active and in need of some “down-time”.
Focus & Attention: This behaviour can be used to get your dog's full attention in distracting situations. A well practiced focus command will be far more consistent than using your dog’s name. Keep in mind, that our four-legged friends, hear their names all of the time. Teaching a focus command for distracting situations and followed by a tasty treat, will be far more effective in gaining their attention.
Wait: A good wait command, will keep your dog in place, until you are ready to call them. Everyday situations, such as crossing roads or coming and going from the house, can be drastically improved with a simple wait.
Stay: A stay command, differs from a wait, as instead of calling your dog to you, we are teaching them stay in a specific position or place until we return. This can be a handy behaviour that you can use in scenarios such as when you are cooking a meal or moving around the house without your dog glued to your feet.
Recall: It is very important that your dog has a good and reliable recall response in any distracting situations and before you consider letting them off lead. Mastering a consistent recall within the home environment is always the best place to start. Consider the use of long lines and other training aids when working around more stimulating situations such as the park or beach.
Leave it: Dogs like to explore using their mouths. This can cause them to grab things that are hazardous to them or just items that we don't want them to have, such as socks or tissues ect. Having a good and reliable leave it command will reduce the chances of these situations occurring and the amount of time you spend fishing unwanted items out of their mouths.
Heel: We want walks with our dogs to be enjoyable and without constant pulling to the next excitable stimuli. Having a solid heel command in place can assist in keeping your dog focused on you when out in public. Although you may not want them staring at you constantly, using a heel position is a great way to reset your dog and increase their attention levels.
Charlotte - Behaviour Counsellor