Don’t Skip, Must-Have Skills

clubhouse blog

Good training isn’t just about teaching a dog to sit. It is about giving them the skills to thrive while living with us humans. 

Elizabeth Ingalls, Dog Behavior and Training and I got together for a casual conversation to discuss our must-have skills for living full and happy lives together with our pups on Clubhouse

Did you miss our live Clubhouse chat in the Dog Lovers Club? Here is  a quick recap of what we talked about!

Do you have have a don’t-skip, must-have skill you trained? We’d love to hear about it!
Connect with us over on Instagram @_luckypup  to tell us about it! 

There are so many important things to teach our dogs that aren’t what you where maybe taught in your dog training classes. Our dogs need to merge their life with ours. Everything about a dog’s world and our human world are so different. We speak different languages, have different opinions on what is acceptable and what isn’t, and more. We want to make sure we know what they are telling us, but we also need to give them a set of skills they can use to live better inside our own world.

Here are some of our top Don’t Skip, Must Have skills:

  •  When we first look at our dogs, we want to make sure their needs are being met. We want to ask questions like do they feel safe? Do they feel heard? Get your copy of our guide to living a better life with your dog for a bigger look at this question!

  • When we are speaking to our dogs, we want to make sure we are as clear as possible. We want to make sure we are reducing confusion by using a specific word for a specific behavior we expect, and we want to have a clear definition of what that word means. When we use one word for different meanings or different words for the same meaning, we can introduce confusion for our dogs. Think cues like “leave it,” “come,” and a release word like “ok.” Does that word only have one meaning or is it context dependent? This can be confusing to our dogs (and also to us humans trying to communicate with them!)

  • Switch up the order that you ask for particular cues. For example, if you always ask your dog for a sit before you ask for a lay down, you might get a dog that automatically sits and then immediately lays down. This chaining can be avoided if you ask for cues in different orders when you are training. Make sure to mix it up! 

  • While you are practicing different orders for cues, make sure you also mix up where you ask your dog for these things. Dogs do not generalize. This means that just because they can sit or leave it in your class doesn’t mean they can automatically leave it when you are at home or a new place. You need to help teach them that they can do these things in lots of different places and with lots of different types of distractions.

  • Mat skills are one of the most versatile things we can teach our dogs! It can help keep them out of our kitchen, in a safe place, and provide a known cue and place to relax in a new location. It is one of the very first things I teach dogs in my home, and I use this skill almost every day!

  • Can your dog focus on you and not other dogs or humans? It is important that our dogs know that every human isn’t available for pets and that every dog isn’t available for play. This can help reduce leash frustration for our dogs and difficult situations for their people. Having great leash skills is also an important component for our dogs to live a full and happy life. Great leash skills could be defined as your dog being able to go out on a leash without frustration or feeling overwhelmed. Why is this important? Because a dog with great leash skills is able to have a bigger world. They can explore more places and have more out-of-the-home experiences and chances for adventure.

Ready to give your pet their best life? 
Check out our Lucky Pup Explorers program. This is our special online community for  Lucky Pup Families. Members get additional support and resources to explore how to live their best lives together with their pets! Join our program today!