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The 3 Most Important Lifesaving Commands Every Dog Should Know

- Provided by VetStreet.com
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I love it when people ask me about the most important commands a dog should know. Although there are many behaviors that promote safety, there are three basic commands that are especially critical: "down stay," "drop it" and "come." Not only should every dog be familiar with these behaviors, but dogs should be trained to perform them anywhere, anytime. 

Down Stay

A dog who immediately drops his body into a down, regardless of distance from his owner, will be better able to avoid danger. I work as an evaluator for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, which teaches search-and-rescue dogs to respond to this command even if they are running at top speed toward a victim or are on top of a pile of rubble. A search dog needs to respond to this command promptly and stay in place until the potential hazard passes or the handler can safely reach the dog.

Pet dogs see similar safety benefits from this training. There are occasions when dogs need to be directed out of danger, but calling them to us could actually put them in more danger. For instance, imagine that your dog is running toward a fast-moving car. Depending on the distance and timing, calling him over could put him directly in the path of the oncoming car, but directing him into a down stay will keep him out of the way and safe.

Drop It

Dogs manage to get their teeth on all sorts of things that are unsafe for them, which is why the drop it command is so important. The number-one poison hazard for dogs is human prescription medication; even a single pill can have devastating effects on a dog. Everyday household items can be dangerous for dogs as well — ladies' underwear is a common choking hazard for dogs, but other typical offenders are chicken bones and apple cores.

Chewing on and swallowing items that can get stuck in their throats or intestinal tracts can lead to death or, in some cases, a very expensive surgery. Unless a dog has been taught to drop whatever is in his mouth, he may play keep away or swallow the item before the owner can retrieve it. A dog that understands “drop it” will let go of the item, which can then be taken away.

Come

Dogs are often happily oblivious to dangers around them, and unless they can be depended upon to always come when they are called, they may easily run right into a deadly situation. As a child, I had a dog named Scooter who had a habit of dashing outdoors and pulling out of her collar on walks. This risk-loving Wired-Haired Fox Terrier would scamper away at top speed, often darting into traffic and completely terrifying me. My childhood experience with Scooter is not unlike the experiences of many dog owners, and it’s truly risking life or death to not instill a reliable recall.

To learn more about this important command, check out my video, Teach Your Dog to Come When Called.

People usually invest in dog training to fix problem behavior or brush up on manners, but dog training does more than instill polite behavior. Key training commands could one day save your dog's life.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

See all VCA Animal Hospitals >

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately.

If it is after hours, please call VCA Paradise Valley Animal Hospital.

Located on 6969 East Shea Boulevard, Suite 225 in Scottsdale AZ 85254.

The phone number is 480.991.1845.

 

We also have a Specialty & Emergency hospital in Mesa.

They are also available 24 hours.

VCA Animal Rerferral & Emergency Center of Arizona.

Located on 1648 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa AZ 85201.

The phone number is 480.898.0001

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