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Four of the most incredible assistance dog commands

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Focus

Focus is a command that refers to your dog providing eye contact. One of my favourite phrases in dog training is ‘when you have your dogs eyes, you have your dog’. Meaning your dog cannot concentrate fully on anything apart from you when they are looking at you. This command is incredibly verstile and can be used in replacement of a leave it command or correction. With repition it can become an automatic response to a situation.

Examples:

Before the focus command : You’re walking down the street and your dog spots a cat and runs to the end of the lead. You give a correction or ask them to leave it. Your dog experiences dissatisfaction and has nothing to do with the energy and adrenaline that was just produced.

After the focus command : Your dog knows the focus command well. Youre walking down the street and you both spot a cat. You ask your dog to wait and focus. Your dog gets a reward and engages. If your dog disengages to spot the cat, you move backwards and ask for focus and repeat until you can walk past it.

Touch

Touch is a command essential for task training. There are variations of this where your dog can touch a object with a paw or nose. These commands can be directed onto different objects or onto the handler during a situation.

E.g. I teach my dog the touch command. I’ve trained my dog to notice when I am scratching my leg. When scratching my leg I pair the touch command so that my dog touches my leg everytime I scratch.

Recall

Recall is a term to describe your dogs ability to return to you when called. The secret behind a successful recall is this is that your dog views you as a source of reward and as a process that will not remove them from what theyre enjoying in the environment. This command can be life saving for every dog and a essential for a health dog that is able to have freedom on walks.

E.g. I recall my dog in the park away from a deep section of the river. My dog comes to me, and I release them back into a safe part of the river.

Settle

The power of relaxation at your finger tips! Yes thats possible! The settle command is the top command I could suggest for the wellbeing of your dog. Capturing calm behaviour and rewarding your dog is a great tool for getting them comfortable with a environment and regulating their stimulation levels. When this process is associated with a command it becomes a method for your dog to calm themselves.

E.g. Your dog goes to a theme park with you. You sit down to rest and your dog is over stimulated by the environment. You ask your dog for settle and they know it’s time to be calm.




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