Training for Safety: Five Things Every Dog Should Know
Anyone who lives with dogs knows there are random events that can frighten or upset your dog. When a dog doesn’t know what to do they invent something which can be embarrassing, worrisome and even dangerous. Training these behaviors will help you and your dog cope with unexpected events. Along with potty training and basic obedience training, these habits and commands can save your dog’s life, prevent aggression, and let him put his best paw forward. Start the training young if possible. Puppies learn quicker and don’t have bad habits established.
- Allow strangers to approach and touch him.
A dog who is afraid of strangers might bite, run, cower or do the totally unexpected. Start with touching your puppy all over his body. Train him to stand still while you open his mouth, check his teeth and peer into his ears. I do this slowly, working on it a few minutes of training at a time, praising and feeding treats for each bit of good behavior. Get your pup used to being touched on his belly and legs. Probe between his toes, pull on the toenails. Have friends approach your dog and touch him. You want the dog as unflappable as possible so when a stray child runs by or wants to pet him, he will react appropriately. Use a lot of praise for good behavior.
Train your puppy to be safe to handle for friends, children, vets, and groomers. If he’s afraid of people your puppy will have a harder time getting along with people when he must. Take your pup to parks, parties, outdoors fairs or farmers’ market. Anyplace where people are laid back and having fun will do. Again, you want him to be calm in any situation so expose him to many safe situations.
- Come to you on command.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it isn’t. Training “come” in a quiet environment does not guarantee your dog will come when he sees an interesting kitty on the other side of the road or the children forget to close the yard gate. Dogs love to run with joggers. Joggers are not always amused when some slavering monster seems to be chasing them down for the kill. Let your dog wander in the park on leash. Call his name and say, “come” firmly and positively. Pull the leash in. Praise generously and use treats for rewards. Train this in as many places as possible. Dog parks are great because he can be off-leash and safe. Extend the length of the leash. Use a line or rope 30 feet long.
Never spank or discipline your dog after he comes on command. If he’s done something naughty go to him. When your dog comes to you praise and give him treats, even if you’ve just been chasing him for blocks in your pajamas in the snow. Coming on command should always be rewarded.
- To ride in a car safely.
Train your dog to ride calmly in the car and never to interfere with the driver. Jumping out a car window could have dire consequences. Praise him for sitting calmly using treats and pats.. Bad behavior in a moving car could cause an accident. A passing cat or a hot dog stand could tempt him to jump. He should not stick his head out the window when the car is moving. A collision between his face and a bee or wasp could get ugly and make him less comfortable in the car. Using a doggie seat harness adds safety but train him to behave without the harness. You may need to have a friend drive you to the vet and your wife has the car with the harness in it.
In my experience, dogs are less likely to get car sick as they ride more. Take them for rides to the store or to check the mail. Leave them in the car briefly, extending the time with practice. NEVER leave your dog in the car with the windows up or when temperatures are warm. Always leave the windows open enough for air, not enough to let the dog escape. For more helpful tips about proper training for your dog’s safety, you can read more from the link. This site will provide you with tons of tips so your dog will be fine and his or her safety will always be prioritized.
- Allow strangers to approach the vehicle.
You never know when a police officer or an EMT may need to get to your car. If you appear to need emergency medical care and your dog is snarling and snapping at your would-be savior the law officer on site may feel that the only way to save you is to shoot the dog. Even a police officer approaching your car for a speeding ticket might set your dog off. One of mine hates any man in uniform. This does not amuse law enforcement. If your dog offends a law officer consequences may not be good. Most police officers are very understanding but there are a few who seem to hate dogs.
Train this in a busy parking lot. Sit in the car with him and tell him “no” very firmly with a small but sharp collar correction. The instant he behaves, give him a treat and lots of praise. This may take many sessions. Make them short and fun, a small part of a day in the car.
- Be comfortable in a crate.
Your pup needs to be comfortable getting into crates and kennels. If he’s picked up by animal control, your dog will be better off if he knows about crates and kennels. If he has to spend a night at the vet’s office your puppy will be less nervous and traumatized sleeping in a kennel. Many groomers use crates to hold dogs in the queue.
Use his crate regularly. One of mine eats in his so the big dogs don’t steal his food and he doesn’t torment them. All of my dogs will voluntarily go in the crate for a nap, especially if things around the house are hectic. Train them to respond to both “crate” and “kennel” so they understand others who might be looking after them. Use treats and praise to lure the pup into the crate. Make the early training sessions short. Don not use bedding they might tear up and swallow. You can give them a toy if it’s non-destructible. If your friends have crates, ask if you can let your pup get used to other crates.
We never know what is going to happen. Murphy’s Law works for dogs, just as for the rest of us. Prepare your puppy or dog for any circumstance he may meet. Invest your time and energy in training your puppy to be a safer, happier dog. You and he will enjoy life together more and he will be safer and easier to deal with.