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Dogs generally want nothing more than to make their humans happy. You’re his pack leader, his hero, his bearer of food. But when it comes to learning commands, some dogs can be quite stubborn.
However, these three basic commands could save your dog’s life. They’re generally the first ones they learn in obedience school, and there are very good reasons for that. Read on to see why the easiest commands are the most important.
A dog who immediately drops his body into a down, regardless of distance from his owner, will be better able to avoid danger. There are many safety benefits from this training. There are occasions when dogs need to be directed out of danger, but calling them to us could actually put them in more danger. For instance, imagine that your dog is running toward a fast-moving car. Depending on the distance and timing, calling him over could put him directly in the path of the oncoming car, but directing him into a down stay will keep him out of the way and safe.
Dogs manage to get their teeth into all sorts of things that are unsafe for them, which is why the “drop it” command is so important. The number-one poison hazard for dogs is human prescription medication; even a single pill can have devastating effects on a dog. Everyday household items can be dangerous for dogs as well.
Chewing on and swallowing items that can get stuck in their throats or intestinal tracts can lead to a very expensive surgery to remove a bowel obstruction or in the worst cases, death. Unless a dog has been taught to drop whatever is in his mouth, he may play keep away or swallow the item before the owner can retrieve it. A dog that understands “drop it” will let go of the item, which can then be taken away.
Dogs are often happily oblivious to dangers around them, and unless they can be depended upon to always come when they are called, they may easily run right into a deadly situation. My dog, for example, will chase literally anything that moves. This includes squirrels, cats, bicycles, skateboards, lizards, snakes, and basically anything that can eat her. She’s a sweet dog and thinks everything in the world is her friend. If she didn’t respond to the “come” command, I have no doubt she’d end up on the wrong side of a skunk.
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