Monday, May 16, 2011

City Dog: The Command that Changed our Lives

 E still loves hearing stories about back in the day when I had "feral" Miss M. When I first adopted her, she was a complete nut. She didn't know how to keep still, she always needed to be entertained, and I needed  to bring her into the bathroom with me because she couldn't be trusted on her own for even a few minutes. But despite all her craziness, I can pinpoint the moment when our lives changed and calm was restored: when she learned "Down Stay".
All of a sudden something clicked with her. She realized, the concept of not moving. And she takes it very seriously. I can keep her in a down stay for 15+ minutes, even on a busy street. I'm thinking Miss M was one of those reclining lion statues in a former life.
And living in the city, I think "Down Stay" is the most important command a dog should know. There are so many practical reasons for a dog to "Down Stay" in the city. Like going  inside to use the ATM:
Or going to the Farmers' Market and laying nicely while I choose what to buy:
 Or even waiting patiently while the other one goes inside to get something (we never leave them tied up by themselves):
This has become our invaluable skill. Does anyone else have a dog command that changed their life?

33 comments:

Bobby said...

Hi catching up we love the hoodies, they both look smart.
I think you got it right with the down stay command. The good thing is most dogs do want to please us.
They do seem to be happy knowing they are making us happy.

Bobby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mayziegal said...

"Wait" has been huge for us. It ensures they don't rush out doors or leap out of the car without their leashes on, and it allows us to catch up if we're walking them on an off-leash trail and they get too far ahead. Both the dogs are great at down/stay if they're on a carpeted or comfortable surface. But apparently Mayzie is too fragile and delicate to be in a down/stay for long on concrete. Ha!

MayzieMom

Kerri said...

"Crate" has been my savior. We give all kinds of nice treats in the crate, and so Milo is happy to go in there when we ask. It's handy for vacuuming, dinner parties, or when there's a spill that needs to be cleaned. I know I can always ask him to go in his crate, and he's more than happy to oblige.

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

Sit is nothing new. But Havi knows the second she is in an elevator she needs to have her tush hit the floor. Its really important in a busy apartment building, where many people are scared of dogs. When they see how nicely and calmly she enters the elevator and sits while waiting for her floor, theyre put at ease.

loveandaleash said...

"Go lay down" has been wonderful for us. I guess it's like down/stay, but less transferrable, because it means the dogs have to go lay on the nearest available bed. Outside they're not quite as good. I would love to hear more about proofing a good down/stay!

Froggy said...

Oh Gosh where do I start! We are in classes and working with a trainer (3 years to late but hey we're moving on up!) Leave It has been amazing tool during walks. Maize is pretty good with Sit Stay but I need to firm it up with Pug because he is always wondering about when I just need him to sit and chill. I am loving push ups and a distraction or Find It!

Slomack said...

Ours was "leave it!" It's been a multifunctional life saver for us! It works on walks (from smelling something, to eating grass, to staring at a dog she wants to meet) and in the house (when we're cooking, and food falls on the ground). About the only thing it doesn't work for is when she trees a squirrel!

Kate said...

Oh man, "stay" has definitely been a life changer. Just the general impulse control the dogs learn from it is great. Having multiple dogs in the house, being able to have one dog stay while you do something with another dog makes things a lot easier.

Corbin said...

Teaching the down stay command has been amazing!
-Corbin's momma Jenn

gamebred said...

down stays are most excellent. i like to move our pack to the side of the sidewalk and put them in a sit stay while people pass. we take up a lot of room and it is good practice for the puppy to remain calm while strangers pass. people are always so impressed by it too.

we just pull over to a side and wait for the other person to pass.

Maisie's Mom said...

"Wait" has definitely been it for me. I even did a blog post about it back in February! :)

http://maisieme.blogspot.com/2011/02/wait.html

For the Love of Dog said...

The command that changed my life was "leave it". It has saved me! When we are walking along and someone has left trash on the ground, a squirrel runs by, or a neighbor walks out of their apartment and she thinks they want to pet her, I can give her that command and she does exactly that. It's absolutely amazing! She is such a powerful dog that if she pulls really hard, or lunges, even with her Halti on, she could take me down if I'm not paying attention. Also, when I'm sitting in the living room and she goes to do her usual sniff out the kitchen, I can just say "leave it" and she casually walks back into the living room. Its brilliant! Also, I wanted to ask you about the back pack you have on Miss M. Do you like it? I've been thinking about getting one for Keena, I have heard that It can make a walk more tiring for a dog. Just curious.

Kari in WeHo said...

Leave it :)

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

DROP IT because when I was young, I picked up everything in my mouth. Mom could yell DROP IT without having to chase me down and pry stuff out of my mouth. But I would not just drop it, oh no, I would spit it out as far away as I possibly could. A command I took very seriously, too.

road-dog-tales said...

Since we're all so different, each of us has a different command that comes in handy. We have to say, though, that none of us have the discipline that Mr. B and Miss M have. That top pic is so adorable - you can just see their different personalities so much. Handsome and laid-back Mr. B and beautiful Miss M with a little more 'tude - makes us think of The Divine Miss M :)

The Road Dogs

brooke said...

We've been working with Darwin on stopping at street corners. I can't say she'd do it on her own, but she's getting better about stopping when we say stop.
I love Miss M's lips! :)

orange sugar said...

OMG that is freakin amazing. The one husky knows sit, down, stay, leave it and high five. But he will only stay for maybe a minute or less. The other one only knows sit and I have tried to teach him high five but it just doesn't work. You guys are obviously dog whisperers.

A Couple of Misfits said...

It's a tough call, but "here" has been my go-to command for a while now. Off leash, it means to come to me, sit, and make eye contact. On leash it means to ignore ______ and look at me. Usually in a surprise situation, that is what comes out of my mouth first.

A&A Friese said...

Once Molly has a reliable recall I would say THAT will be our real life changer, but for now our most used and beneficial commands for us are wait and leave it. I love how consistant Molly is with waiting at every door and not trying to barrel through me!

Mr. Pip said...

I so admire what good listeners Miss M and Mr B. are! We don't have a must have command for Pip, but he never gives us any trouble and when in doubt, we just pick him up.

houndstooth said...

Stand stay has worked really well for our photo sessions and for nail clipping, but "wait" at the back door and in the car is the most important to me. I can't risk them running out and taking off, so this is the one that's cardinal law at our house.

Benny and Lily said...

Well you should congratulate yourself for listening so well
Benny & Lily

Pit Bull Mom said...

Come! It is a life saver! I think people forget how imporant come is....

Roo said...

What precious mugs :D Luv that photo of Mr. B smiling with the splotches of blue in the background! Fabulous! Miss M's expressions always bring a smile to my face :D

As I luv to have my mentals stimulated, all commands are fun to me especially the ones that are followed with a treat. What can I say? I'm a foody ;P

Mom says probably the one that comes in most handy for her though is the "AAAAAAAAAAAA" awful sounding loud noise she makes when I'm doing something she needs me to stop doing immediately. I almost always listen when she does that. Mostly because I want her to stop making the awful sound! ;)

Fortunately I don't do things very often that cause her to use it ;D

Waggin at ya,
Roo

RED said...

I would say for us it's been 'yucky'. It started when we first got Zeus and he would be trolling for food on ALL walks. (I can't tell how many times I pulled pizza crusts, chicken wings, etc out of his mouth in that first month. gross). I would say 'leave it. that's yucky' when he would show interest in food/poop/gross things you find on the street in the city. And now if he's looking at anything questionable I just say 'yucky' and he keeps walking. I guess I should have trained him with 'leave it' but it just turned into 'yuck'. Ha.
He's really great at 'go lay down'. If we are hanging on the couch eating a snack with friends or something he'll come over and I can just say 'go lay down' and he'll leave us alone. Works great when we have friends over. They are always impressed by that one! (I think a TREMENDOUS help to that is that we NEVER give him people food, especially from the couch!)

Two Pitties in the City said...

For the Love of a Dog--Yes, we love the backpack. Usually Mr. B wears it, and just wearing it makes him behave more responsibly as well as tiring him out more, and helping us with chores. We wrote more about it here: http://pittiesincity.blogspot.com/2011/03/pooches-backpack-training.html

Tucker The Crestie said...

Great down stay, Miss M!

Kirby, CGC said...

The "wait" command has been a big one for Kirby and I, when I need him to just stop doing whatever, "wait" has been wonderful!

Kirby's mom

Susan Campisi said...

The command that changed my life was "go to your bed." It gave me some sanity at home. It's very impressive that Miss M can stay down for 15 minutes! Tommy knows the down stay but we need a lot more practice to last that long. Miss M and her people are an inspiration.

Victorpitbull said...

"Drop it" and "leave it", often used in tandem, are my 2 favs in this multi-pittie house! :)

Victorpitbull said...

"Drop it" and "Leave it" are my 2 favs in this multi-pittie household. :)

Victorpitbull said...

"Drop it" and "leave it", often used in tandem, are my 2 favs in this multi-pittie house! :)

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