When we first get our new puppy or dog from rescue, we usually want to know what kind of training, if any, the dog knows. Sit is about the very first thing a dog learns so many dogs know this one, even puppies. But as we move through life with our dogs it is very useful for humans to be able to direct the dogs from one place to another. Wouldn’t it be convenient if our dogs could change direction or wait for a few minutes while we made our way to the car, around the block or even in the house?
My dog trainer, John Spieser, says that the first two dog training commands he teaches a dog or a puppy are “wait” and “this way”. Using these two commands he can get a dog to go just about anywhere he needs them to and keep him safe along the way.
The command “wait” is easy to teach your dog. For some reason, wait, feels temporary to a dog so he’s more willing to wait then to have to “stay” somewhere for a long time. “Wait” is good for street corners. Tell your dog to wait at the corner while traffic passes. Or maybe your dog needs to wait while another dog, kids, bike or whatever passes by. Maybe you want him to wait for his food. Whatever the reason, the dog learns that it is only a temporary situation, soon to be followed by the release (which is rewarding) and possibly more positive stimulation.
The “this way” command is better than come. The recall or “come” command tends to get over used and dogs may get resentful after hearing it often. Using “this way” allows the dog to keep moving but in a different direction. If your dog is running away from you and doesn’t respond to the typical recall command of “come”, then try implementing “this way” into your training routine. A dog hears this as a chance to please and still keep moving. It’s much less restrictive to the dog and it’s really easy to teach this to a dog.
For more effective communication with your dog, try dog training commands that teach your dog how to move with you without being too restrictive. Consider making “wait” and “this way” a primary part of your repertoire. The two dog training commands that make the most sense are ones that give you a lot of versatility with your dog.