As a dog trainer, I have one standard suggestion for making any pet care facility less stressful for the staff and the dogs: Teach a few basic behaviors to every dog! By selecting a few easy-to-teach behaviors to every dog in your care, you will build a stronger relationship with the pets, your staff will have more control, and everyone will be less stressed.
This month we are going to focus on the cues that can be most useful to your pet care center. Here is a list of my favorites:
- Come: dog stops what they are doing and comes to you
- Wait: dog stops moving forward
- Sit: dog puts rear end on the ground and waits to be released
Some of these can be useful in a specific scenario in which you give the cue to the dog. I might use a come cue to call a dog away from poop it wants to eat, or a dog it is pestering. Wait is an excellent cue to use when you are trying to go out of the gate and you don’t want all the dogs crashing through the gate when you open it.
But there are also what I call “environmental cues.” These are behaviors that happen because of a specific situation in the environment. For instance, sit at doors should be an environmental cue. When a dog approaches a door, they have to sit before the door opens. If you practice this enough, your hand on the door actually becomes the cue to sit even without you saying anything. It appears magical, but the magic is really in the consistency of your training!
There are other ways to use obedience for better control of the dogs. Things like teaching the dogs not to jump on you, having them walk down the hallways without dragging you, and waiting politely while you talk to the owner in the lobby. We’ll talk about all this and more at The Dog Gurus!