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I'm curious what command you trained into your puppy that paid off in spades down the road. Barring the obvious.

For me it was, "Careful." Sierra was pretty klutzy, bull headed, and clueless as a puppy. She was particularly prone to getting underfoot and had plenty of incidents getting tangled in people's feet. She even darted in front of a bike once. She also learned the hard way about cats, wasps, and sticker bushes. Not the end of the world but certainly memorable events.

Each time I saw her going into a dicey situation or coming out of one, I'd exclaim, "Careful!" I'd reiterate it if I had to comfort her. I also used it in the early stages of prong training when I saw her about to dart off. We did confidence building and motor control exercises that involved her picking her way over rocks and walking on fallen trees. I'd tell her "Careful" and she'd slow down and pay more attention to what she was doing.

I now have a pup that understands when I'm telling her to be cautious or that there's danger around. She can vary her response according to the situation. At a very young age, we've been able to climb boulders, walk alongside cliffs, and play in certain bodies of water while completely avoiding others. If I say "Careful," and there's no obvious danger, she stops on a dime, looks around, and looks at me for direction. She'll slow down and pick her way over obstacles. She'll dart to the side to avoid the thing coming up behind her. She'll stop approaching something that she was running after. She won't get into a river with a strong undertow because I told her it was dangerous. Even if she can't see the danger, she trusts me that it's there.

The best part is that we can go into situations that she's completely unfamiliar with, and I can tell her if they're risky or not. We've yet to meet a skunk, bear, snake, avalanche zone, skiiers, bonfires, etc. This gives us a framework to tackle those obstacles with a greater margin for safety. We're also building trust and communication. If she has a question about something, she'll look at me and I can give her some basic information. Along with careful, I have, "this is fine," if there's no problem or, "go ahead," if I'm comfortable with her continuing what she's doing. IMO, it's a great foundational command for an up-and-coming trail dog! Especially one as smart as our shepherds!
 

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  • move
  • left
  • right
  • go home
  • “tail” (car2ner just reminded me, i use that before closing the hatch on my car for him to tuck his tail - probably the most useful of my list actually)
 

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“Gentle” to give treats and not fingertips to eat and “out”. Hunter knew to leave the kitchen on his own when we sat down for meals but occasionally would somehow mysteriously find his way into a corner. Begging for food was just not something we tolerated. He was never more than 5-6 feet away with a clear line of sight and as soon as we got up to clear the table he knew he could come in.
 

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I used to walk my GSD Tasha in our subdivision after dark off leash. There were places where there were no sidewalks, and even late at night, there would sometimes be cars speeding around the corners. I taught her the command "HALT!", meaning to freeze in place. It was always said in a very urgent tone, and she picked up on this and would sometimes do a down instead of just halting.

It probably saved her life a couple of times.

One night, a car came speeding around the most dangerous of the corners on our block, as she and I were crossing the road. She was lagging behind me, and was in danger. I gave her the command, she froze, and I was able to get out of the way of the car in time, then shook my fist at the driver.

He actually STOPPPED HIS CAR, got out and APOLOGIZED to me! 😮

I thanked him, and told him to be more careful, as people did like to take walks in the area, and there were no sidewalks.
 

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"back" was very useful when we spent a few weeks in our small motorhome. There were a number of times when the dogs got into a space where backing out was preferable over trying to turn around to get out. It also helps with loose leash walking if the dog starts to move too far ahead. I stop and remind them "back" followed by a "look" and then my loose leash command. I don't want a strict show heel, just a sticking close to me walk and "back" returns them to the better position.

Another one is "watch it" which we use when we are closing a car door, or the back hatch. I tuck tails out of the way for the door, then use "watch it". For the back hatch door the dogs know to bring their heads back behind the seat back.
561057
 

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"WHAT'S THAT??" said after I hear a noise or suspect a trespasser??? I live sorta in boonies on a farm, ALONE, am
old and semi-crippled. When I say Whazzat my Heidi barks up a storm. A warning to any intruder outside or inside.
Works like a charm as I have bears, bobcats, panther and meth heads prowling at night. Most people or animals would
naturally move on after her loud threatening voice.
 

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I taught Archer “through” which means to circle around my right side and go between my legs, and stay there. It’s been insanely useful for when we’ve been charged by out of control dogs (easy to keep hold of my dog and prevent other dogs from coming up to him), walking in tight areas, or simply needing him to get out of the way of someone else, such as in a store. He can also walk with me when he’s between my legs. Again, useful.
 
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“Gentle” to give treats and not fingertips to eat and “out”. Hunter knew to leave the kitchen on his own when we sat down for meals but occasionally would somehow mysteriously find his way into a corner. Begging for food was just not something we tolerated. He was never more than 5-6 feet away with a clear line of sight and as soon as we got up to clear the table he knew he could come in.
As much as I have a very low treat tolerance for dogs and ZERO except dog treats, my wife and daughter give the old boy a piece of cheese whenever it's out for human consumption. He cna hear cheese plastic over 100 other types of food plastic through 11 walls and over a running lawnmowero_O It's his Super power.

But I have taught all my dogs "no mooch" (don't know why I started that for no begging) and they immediately leave the scene of the crime. Even the 7 month pup learned that months ago. Neither one come near the dinner table since they learned there is no dog food there for them. We eat human food ....
 

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For me it's got to be "wait". It doesn't mean stay, it means stay where you are but change positions as you want to. She "waits" to go out of doors, she "waits" in the car to get out, she "waits" away from the entrance at the dog park before greeting newcomers, and she "waits" in the backyard when I go somewhere if I can't bring her with me. And she "waits" to let me catch up when we're out hiking around.

It's been a very useful command for her to know.
 

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This is probably not useful to most people, but "chickens" is our most helpful command. If we say "chickens" that means the dogs are to get the chickens, aka feathered poop machines, off the porch and the outside table. Needless to say this is their favorite job. My one year old will even hear them on the porch when we are inside and she let's us know so they can go clear the area!

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

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For me it's got to be "wait". It doesn't mean stay, it means stay where you are but change positions as you want to. She "waits" to go out of doors, she "waits" in the car to get out, she "waits" away from the entrance at the dog park before greeting newcomers, and she "waits" in the backyard when I go somewhere if I can't bring her with me. And she "waits" to let me catch up when we're out hiking around.

It's been a very useful command for her to know.
I was just going to say, 'wait'. We live on the 3rd floor of the building and if we take the stairs down - Neb's now old enough he is tentative (so I TRY to avoid them), whereas Agis wants to go down faster, being a teenager. He has to wait at every landing until I release him. The flights are short enough that he can go down at his own pace per section and Neb can go down at his - but I don't want Agis to KEEP on going down until Neb has caught up. So he waits!
 

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For me it's got to be "wait". It doesn't mean stay, it means stay where you are but change positions as you want to. She "waits" to go out of doors, she "waits" in the car to get out, she "waits" away from the entrance at the dog park before greeting newcomers, and she "waits" in the backyard when I go somewhere if I can't bring her with me. And she "waits" to let me catch up when we're out hiking around.

It's been a very useful command for her to know.
That reminds me. I have taught "too far" when my dogs gets too far ahead in woods or is approaching a corner where he'd get out of sight if he kept going. I just wanted him to wait for for him, it means come back halfway. I use it all the time.

"Too far" is like I shot him....he IMMEDIATELY turns and comes halfway back.
 

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They also learn informally. When I am outside weeding or whatever, Deja is often hunting for mice. Sometimes I can't see her and ask "Deja, where are you?" She makes herself visible but doesn't come. So I tell "OK" and we both go back to our business. I never taught her that purposely. But it's very handy.
 

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For me it's got to be "wait". It doesn't mean stay, it means stay where you are but change positions as you want to. She "waits" to go out of doors, she "waits" in the car to get out, she "waits" away from the entrance at the dog park before greeting newcomers, and she "waits" in the backyard when I go somewhere if I can't bring her with me. And she "waits" to let me catch up when we're out hiking around.

It's been a very useful command for her to know.
Wait is handy but we use it a little differently. I use "Shtay" or "Sitz" if I need them to hold a position. I didn't want to use either of those if we humans were leaving the house since both of those words imply holding position until released. I didn't want to water those words down. So we use "wait" for "you are not going through the door with us". So they stay and wait but can go wonder off whenever they want to.
 

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I'm curious what command you trained into your puppy that paid off in spades down the road. Barring the obvious.

"Show me" Freya will come and sit down near me and I tell her "show me" so she can communicate what is on her mind - food, water, vitamins, outside, mom is doing something, time for me to go to bed, etc. She can't talk but she can show me what she is thinking.
 

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"STOP" is the single most useful command for use. No matter Sammy is doing I can get her to stop. Except perhaps chasing a cat.
 
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