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Giving Your Dog A Purpose

Service Dog Magee
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By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Dogs, like all creatures, need a purpose. But not all dogs are service dogs, therapy dogs or search and rescue. Although they can be truly purposeful for a dog, we can actually fulfill that need by simply providing tasks for your dog on a daily basis. These tasks can be in the form of basic training cues to practice daily.

These tasks such as basic training cues are so important to master because they are extremely helpful and will come in handy for countless experiences in your dog’s life. They not only strengthen the bond between you and your dog, but will solidify your role as a calm, gentle, yet strong leader in your dog’s life. They help to provide the security he or she needs and help to provide the focus where it is required the most: on you.

Basic cues or tasks include “Sit,” “Stay,” “Down,” “Down-Stay” and “Come.” These are the most basic and relatively easiest to learn. Others include “Focus,” “Leave it/Drop it,” among many others. “Sit.” “Stay” and “Down” can even be lifesaving in certain situations so they are very important to learn.

There are no hard and fast rules about how long it takes, so be patient. The most important thing is not to get frustrated. Provide patience, consistency, compassion and approval. If things aren’t going well, just stop and start again another time.

Remember, your dog wants to learn and is always seeking your approval. It should be a pleasant experience for both you and your dog.