Monday, April 4, 2016

5 Things That Could Save Your Dog's Life - Positive Pet Training Blog Hop

Hey, everyone!

It's time again for the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop, hosted by Cascadian NomadsTenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days! This month's theme is training for safety or in an emergency, but as always, you're more than welcome to share any positive based training tips.

Safety is paramount when it comes to my dogs, and we've done a lot of training that would be vital in an emergency, and for general ease of handling. These are the most useful things we've worked on!

5. Recall

Arguably the most important thing to teach, a solid recall is endlessly useful. Not only does it allow you greater freedom and security with your dog, it's invaluable in the event of an accidentally open door, equipment failure, or any other unexpected circumstance. 

4. Leave it

 I'm diligent about keeping the dogs' environment safe, but sometimes I'll drop something that's dangerous (like the shit ton of grapes I spilled the other night), or we'll encounter something while out and about. Quick as you may be to pick up or walk away from whatever substance your pup shouldn't have, accidents can happen, and that's when you need a leave it cue.
When I'm in the kitchen, there's an automatic "leave it" from anything that falls until I give the go ahead. I've also had the misfortune of having to use it to avoid having to pluck both a tampon and a condom from Nola's mouth, both of which were used and neither of which were mine.
Here's Nola showing it off with a grape, and one of her vitamins.

3. Teeth time!

Nola gets her teeth brushed daily, and I've been doing that since she was just a puppy. Not only does this account for her stellar smile, having your dog be comfortable with you probing around in their mouth allows you to quickly and easily remove things they're attempting to swallow, check for any issues or abnormalities, and I've found it's helped greatly with bite inhibition. Since they know not to ever press down on skin when I'm checking out their mouths, they're much quicker to recognize tooth to skin contact during play or excitement. 
I've found that teaching comfort and acceptance for all aspects of handling the mouth (lips, teeth, tongue, gums), as well as opening and holding open the jaws is much better than just having a dog okay with you lifting their lips. 

2. Safe restraint and surprise handling 

Another absolutely invaluable behavior to teach is calm acceptance with being restrained. Picking up, carrying, holding against your legs or torso, restraining specific body parts, ect are common necessities in emergency and vet situations, and it greatly reduces the stress of all involved if your dog is used to it.

Teaching your dog that surprise handling (petting, picking up, gentle tugs on the ears/tail/limbs) is a good and rewarding thing is one of the best things you can do for them. If your dog isn't reactive and is used to these types of unexpected and unsolicited situations, it greatly reduces the risk of a bite.
I've had people pet, grab, and try to pick up Nola without my permission. Not once has she reacted, because this was the #1 thing I worked with her on as a puppy, and continue to refresh as an adult. 


I cannot stress this one enough: socialize, socialize, socialize. If your dog is comfortable in confident around people, other dogs, noise, movement, different surfaces, surprise handling, ect, they are so much better off. Less fear, less surprise, more confidence = reduced bite risk.

It's doubly important to expose your dog to children in a positive manner. Whether you have them or not, want them or not, your dog will encounter kids at some point in their life. With high pitched noises, erratic movement, and often clumsy touch, kids can be scary to dogs unfamiliar with them, and that ups your bite risk.

Lucky for me, my dogs adore kids. 

What about you? What are your top tips for keeping safety in mind in training?

- Dachshund Mommy


  1. Nola and you resting together is so sweet. And recall is the one we are training the most right now. So important for safety for sure!!

  2. I think your list is the same as ours!!
    Recall,leave it, we practice restraining them, we pick them up so that in case they get injured on a hike they won't freak out, handling, and proper behavior around humans/other animals.
    Nola is so cute!!

  3. Nola is such a good girl. My Jess has a great "leave" - she needs it, what with all the dirty things around the farm that she always tries to pick up!

  4. Overall we are pretty good. Recall, excellent when we want to be
    Lily & Edward

  5. Great post! I know leave it, good recall, I'm socialized, I love to be handled, and I let people lift my little cheeks! I guess I passed the test!

    Your Dachshund friend,

  6. So many great tips!! And YES to socializing!

  7. Great post! These are all very important for safety! I love your new header, too!

  8. Great list. People try to pick Mr. N up all the time too. It's so annoying. He tolerates it though. Thanks for joining the hop!

  9. These are all such wonderful skills to teach your dog, and I adore Nola! I have a good handle on them between my two dogs, but each needs work in some areas. Ruby has a great leave it and a bad recall. Boca is easy to handle and has wonderful social skills but constantly grabbing anything she can find off the ground. Former street dog...

  10. Very thorough list! And that recall picture! So cute.

  11. These are fantastic - we really need help with leave it. We have t trade up and the treats have to be pretty awesome pending what it is. I need to watch your training video as that's so important!

  12. Good information! Barley has a very solid leave it. We also practice stay and wait since she doesn't always like to turn her back on things that make her nervous when it comes to recall. She'd rather stop and look at it and wait for me to catch up than turn her back on it to come back to me.

  13. Great list! It reminds me that we REALLY need to work on leave it... not so reliable with Rocco and he will eat anything. I know what we're working on next!


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