This weekend I found out that my babies are mousers. They work together hunting mice (who are waking up for the spring, I guess) and watching them hunt in tandem is quite fascinating. Lots of tail wagging and quick movements, paw digging, and then it happens. Rodrigo backs away and there’s something squirming in his mouth. A quick snap of his head and the squirming stops. Sydney is standing there, watching Rodrigo with a smug, proud look. They did good. That mouse didn’t stand a chance. This is their land and they will kill to protect it; or just for fun.
The following thoughts and feelings run through my head in matter of seconds…
Pride | Look at how quickly my babies captured that mouse
Creepiness | They killed that teeny mouse and don’t have an ounce of remorse
Gross | I’ve let them lick my face
Panic | Is he going to eat it?
That’s when I snap out, walk with purpose to Rodrigo, point to the ground and firmly say “Drop It, Rodrigo.” And he drops the mouse. We have a few stamped down mole hills that are being recycled into mouse graves. So far there are two.
It’s helpful to be able to 5 commands that our dogs follow well. Here are 7 things to teach your puppy…
DROP IT – whenever our dogs have something in their mouth that shouldn’t be there, this command lands it into my hand, or with a dead mouse, on the ground. I made the mistake of confusing “give it to mommy” with a game and whenever I say those words, Rodrigo goes running off, because it means that it’s a game of chase. So I taught them “drop it” so they would understand when we weren’t playing a game.
GO TO YOUR BLANKET – we give our dogs bully sticks and other chew treats and they make a mess. So they have blankets that we layout for them to chew and drool on to their hearts delight. The blankets protect our furniture and carpet. The bonus of this command is that when we have guests or need the dogs to settle down, we direct them to “got to your blanket” and done!
GO POTTY FOR MOMMY – I taught our dogs this as puppies and I still say it to them 2 years later. What I didn’t realize 2 years ago was how helpful this command is when we are in a hurry. We take our dogs on road trips and vacation and we want them to “go potty” before we hit the road. When they hear “go potty” they know what we want and start sniffing around.
INSIDE and OUTSIDE – These are two separate commands, but I’m lumping them together, because they’re related and it allows me to add a sixth command. I actually double up the commands and say “Inside Inside” and “Outside Outside.” It’s a hold over from the cutesy talk I used to do when they were puppies. Like all commands, these do the job of letting our dogs know what we’re asking. Having litter mate puppies we were constantly competing with the distractions of the world as well as two puppies who were distracted by each other. These commands would just direct playing puppies inside and outside the house quickly.
BACK IN THE YARD and STAY IN THE YARD - Again, two commands, but they’re related too. We live on 5 acres of un-fenced property bordered by woods, trails to our neighbors, the Centennial Trail, and a busy road. A lot of things are distracting our dogs. They often leave the property to play with horses, dogs, chase cats, and greet bicyclists and joggers. Stopping them in their tracks is often necessary. Redirecting them when they run next door is quick and easy.
LEAVE IT – When we’re at the dog park, I hear this one all the time. I think it’s the first command (besides SIT) that we all teach our dogs. We live in a rural area and encounter some foul things that the dogs love to investigate and occasional roll into. ”Leave it” has been a magic wand when
COME – Another command that we’re all familiar with and it’s a gift. We like to walk our dogs off leash, giving them the opportunity to stretch their legs, play with their friends, and investigate all the scents. If we encounter a leashed dog or jogger – we’ll call the dogs back to us to go back on leash. Our dogs aren’t aggressive, but not everyone is comfortable with dogs and not all other dogs are friendly. This is another command that clearly and quickly lets our dogs know what we’re asking of them.
Things to Teach Your Puppy
I wish I could say that these commands came easily to me, but that’s not true. I worked with a trainer and she helped us teach our dogs many commands; she also taught u show to read our dogs. That foundation helped us come up with many of the commands that I shared with you.
I would love to hear a few of your favorite commands that you have found most helpful – even the out there ones like “go to your blanket.”
Kimberly Gauthier, a perpetually happy person, lives with her amazing guy, their spoiled dogs and cats, and loves dog rescue, photography, reading, and laughing. She’s the author of three blogs, sharing tips and tricks about photography, blogging, and The Fur Mom.