Joanne Meredith of Good Dog Bad Dog shares her tips on manners and safety
These two facets of dog training seem distant and therefore unrelated, but with a little more investigating the two are definitely united.
Imagine opening your car door and your dog bolts onto a busy road or in the face of another dog who is dog-aggressive.
Clearly an unsafe incident requiring at the very least a more reliable recall and, if correct manners were in place the dog wouldn’t have exited the car until invited.
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Don’t wait until you need a respectful and safe exit response, practice at home in a calm environment.
With your dog in the car; ask him to ‘wait’; invite him out, immediately putting him into a controlled position. I use ‘down’; this is your most secure ‘holding position’, it allows time to gather the lead for your walk.
It has the added advantage of ‘setting the tone’ of your walk – calm, compliance with you in charge. Entry and exit of the car should always be executed in a safe, reliable manner. Invitation ‘In’ – Invitation ‘out’.
If your dog is not used to these requests – you must train the desired response to keep your dog safe.
Lifting your dog in/out of the car does not automatically keep him safe; you still need a ‘hold’ position once your dog’s on the ground, consider a canine car-ramp which aids small or older dogs – readily available and relatively inexpensive.
Often forgotten - until an accident - is ‘boundary work’. An open gate or door shouldn’t mean your dog bolts through. This is often a sadly neglected safety aspect of training.
Boundary work should encompass every door and gate on your property. It shows good manners to be invited into or out of a room, house or yard - well worth the effort of training.
Start teaching new behaviours in quiet, familiar areas; gradually extend the training to encompass a variety of situations, areas and environments.
With all manners training, don’t wait until behaviour becomes problematic. Train for everyday manners and acceptable responses for daily use and safe management of your dog.