Beware of the Dog

Commands Your Dog Should Know

Good obedience training is especially important for dogs that live with children. In addition to the usual sit, down, and heel, teach your dog these commands.

  • Go to your spot. This order gives your dog a place to go when things get chaotic. Put its crate or bed in a quiet spot. Toss a treat into it, and tell the dog, "Go to your spot." Teach kids to leave the dog alone when it's in its spot.
  • Leave it. This command keeps your dog from pouncing on dropped food or a child's favorite toy. To train: With the dog on a leash, put a dog treat on the floor and say, "Leave it." The second your pet stops trying to get the treat -- and especially if it looks up at you -- quickly give an even better treat from your hand (like cheese or a tidbit of chicken) and say, "Good dog!"
  • Off. The last thing you need when you're carrying a baby is Bowser jumping up on you. Teach your dog "off" by never, ever touching it when it jumps up on you -- don't even push it away. Instead, turn your back so it drops to all fours. Then, bend down to pet it.
  • Wait. If you're heading outside, keep your dog from getting overly excited. Put it on a leash, open the door, and tell it, "Wait." When it relaxes, release it with a cheerful "Okay!" and let it go through the doorway.

Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the September 2007 issue of Parents magazine.

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