2 basic commands could save your puppy’s life

puppy, golden retriever, dog

Maybe you are not the type of dog owner who spends a lot of time training his dog. This is quite ok (most dog owners do not have the time). However, there are two basic commands that could literally save your puppy’s life, and it only takes a few minutes a day to train him.

Teaching your puppy the “Leave it” and “Drop it” commands can help keep your puppy from doing something dangerous, such as eating mouse poison, tainted food and other nasty things, or running into the path of a speeding car.

“Leave it”

Walk your puppy on a lead past an enticing object, such as food or a toy (you can place objects in advance for this exercise). If your puppy tries to pick up the object, pull the leash briefly and say, “Leave it”.

Praise your puppy enthusiastically for his obedience (Good Sparky!). You can give a reward for the treat at this point if you prefer, but praise and a pat on the head works just as well. Repeat this routine at home.

Here’s another method you can use to teach your puppy the “Leave it” command: Hold a treat with your fist closed. When your puppy nibbles on your hand, say “Leave it” and keep your fist closed. When your puppy stops sniffing your hand, reward him with praise, then give a verbal release command (e.g. ‘kay’) and give your puppy the treat. Continue to do this until your puppy sits quietly, without touching a treat nearby, until you give the command to release.

“Drop it”

If your puppy picks up a forbidden object, say ‘Drop it!’ and go to your puppy. If your puppy does not want to give the item, offer him a tempting reward in exchange for the item. If your puppy drops it, praise him and offer him a safe replacement ñ preferably one that is more tempting than the forbidden item.

If your puppy runs away from you, do not chase him. He will think you are playing a game. Instead, ignore your puppy and get a treat from the kitchen (something you know your puppy likes). Take the treat to a place accessible to puppies and start eating it (or pretend to eat it if it is a dog treat).

Be dramatic about how tasty the treat is. Summon your puppy, then give him the order to drop it and exchange the treat for the forbidden item. (Praise your puppy for obeying.) When your puppy has finished the treat, offer him an acceptable toy.

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