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We all know dogs are smart. But did you know there’s a border collie named “Chaser” who knows 1,000 commands? This kind of obedience doesn’t happen overnight and every dog has to start somewhere.

“Although dogs are capable of learning well over 1,000 commands, the average pooch may only master as many as 40 commands in his lifetime,” says Luciano Aguilar. “But there are three commands your dog should definitely learn first, because they’re so critical to his safety.”

Obedience training is a form of communication between you and your dog. As his guardian, you are responsible for making sure he is safe — so good communication is essential.

“Simple, one-word commands are always the more effective. And of all the one-word commands, the three most important are ‘Sit,’ ‘Come’ and ‘Off,'” says Luciano. “Teaching these commands is easy. All you need is your dog’s leash and his favorite treat or toy.”

”Sit” is an important command which Luciano says is really the “stay” command in hiding.

“I don’t believe in the “stay” command,” he explains. “If I tell my dog to sit, then he should stay there as well.”

Hold a treat above your dog’s nose and tell him to “sit.” Reward him with a treat when he complies and repeat until he obeys without any incentives.

“The “come” command is important because you want to be able to keep your dog out of hazardous situations. If your dog wanders too close to a busy street, you want to be able to call him back to you where it’s safe.

Start at the end of your dog’s leash. Tell him to “come” in a clear, excited tone. Bend down, tapping your knees to make the command more inviting. When he obeys, reward him with a treat. Then repeat.

”Off” is another top command and is also to protect your dog. You want to make sure you can get your dog out of danger, and that can be as small as a child’s toy that could choke him. Tell him “off” so that he drops the toy and moves on.

To train the “off” command, use an unfamiliar treat as an incentive. Instead, tell your dog”off” when he goes near the treat. When he obeys, reward him with a familiar treat.

“You want to teach your dog ‘off’ instead of ‘no,’ because the word ‘no’ is so widely used it will lose its value,” adds Luciano.

It’s your responsibility to keep your dog safe and that means teaching him to obey you. These three essential commands will help you protect your dog and create the building blocks for more advanced commands.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved

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