An estimated 69 million U.S. households own at least one dog. But, only 8% of those dog owners took their dogs to an obedience training program. What’s more popular is to put in an electronic tracking device. Around half of all dog owners in the U.S. use dog tracking devices to keep their pets safe. If their pet runs off, they can track the dog’s location. Dig-proof fencing is also popular for protecting a family pet.

Does that sound familiar? If so, it’s not enough. Have you spent any time working with your dog on basic obedience? A fenced-in backyard is a popular way to keep a dog safe, but it’s not the only thing you should be doing. Your dog must know these basic commands.

Commands to Protect Your Dog

Start with commands that protect your dog from harm. There are a few commands to make sure your dog knows.

  1. Leave It

Leave it is one of the most important commands to teach your dog. He sees something in the yard. You say leave it and he knows that he has to leave it alone. He won’t stop and eat it or pick it up. Leave it is also helpful for keeping your dog from sniffing another animal’s feces, a stinging or biting insect, or a plant you don’t want the dog chewing on. Make this one of the first commands you teach him.

  1. Stop

If your dog is running, you need him to respond to stop. It’s important if your dog runs out the door when someone comes in that he knows to stop immediately. It prevents him from getting hit by a car or from running off.

  1. Drop It

Like leave it, drop it helps protect your dog from unwanted injuries or poisoning. The difference is this command is issued when your dog picks up something he shouldn’t have. Your dog encounters a dead bird in the backyard. You don’t want him picking it up, but it’s too late. He needs to know and immediately respond to drop it.

This is also important for situations that you never want to happen, but they have. Someone knowingly tries to harm your dog by tossing over a treat that’s been tainted. It happened a few years ago in Bristol, Connecticut. Someone threw poison-laced treats over the fence. Her dogs were sick for days. It’s not the first time this has been reported. Drop it is the best way to get your dog to drop something he finds in the yard that you don’t want him to have.

Commands That Make You a Better Neighbor

Some of the commands you teach your dog are going to make you a better neighbor. Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where a dog barks or whines incessantly all day long? Most people have experienced this. The dog is left outside and either barks and whines to get back in or barks at every person, car, or animal that he sees. Your dog needs to learn commands that stop annoying behaviors like these.

  1. No Bark

A no-bark command is essential if your dog frequently barks at neighbors walking past the house or around their yard. If your dog is barking at neighbors who are mowing their lawn, gardening, or playing outside, it can be annoying to hear the incessant barking.

While a warning bark that someone is nearby is entirely acceptable, repetitive barking shouldn’t be allowed. Teach your dog no bark and use it when the dog’s warning barks are turning into non-stop, problematic barking.

  1. Greet

When someone comes to your home, is your dog likely to jump up or sniff personal areas? Teach your dog manners by using a greet command The dog can sit down and offer a paw or wait to be petted. Your dog loves the reward he gets through socialization with visitors, and your visitors will be impressed that your dog greets them respectfully and calmly.

  1. Inside

A dog fence is not meant to put your dog outside and leave him out there all day, every day. If your dog is stubborn and won’t come right back to the door, correct that with the inside command. The dog goes outside, goes to the bathroom, and runs around. Once the dog is done playing, he needs to come back inside. A bored dog is more likely to become a nuisance with barking and other disruptive behaviors.

Commands That Make Your Life Easier

The last batch of commands to teach your dog are to make your life easier. When you own a dog, you shouldn’t ignore that dog 24/7. Your dog needs time with you, but you will have moments when your dog is outside while you run in to get a drink or snack. These commands give you peace of mind that you can trust your dog when you’re out of sight.

  1. Lay Down

Lay down is a good command to teach your dog. While you run inside, you know your dog is on his bed or favorite spot and stays there until you return. It’s also helpful when you’re working outside and want your dog with you but don’t want the dog pacing around and distracting you.

  1. Stay

While you run inside, use the stay command. Your dog will know he needs to stay where he is and wait for you. You don’t have to worry about him chasing bees or birds that enter your yard while you’re outside.

  1. Heel

You may have a clingy dog. Some dogs are more dependent on you than others. You may have to let your dog follow you inside. A heel command makes it easier to get your dog to follow behind or to the side of you without getting under your feet.

Heel is also helpful if there’s a storm and a branch or tree falls on your dog fence. You want to be sure the dog stays nearby until you’ve fixed the fence. You don’t have to stress out that your dog is going to run off and get into trouble with traffic or other dogs in the neighborhood.

To teach your dog any command, use positive reinforcement. Repeat the command and show the dog what he needs to do. It’s going to take time and patience. Don’t punish your dog if he doesn’t get a command immediately. When he does get it right, reward him with a favorite toy, attention, or a small treat. Remember that too many treats can cause weight gain, so try to make the reward something other than food as much as possible.

Pet Playgrounds has DIY dog fences that anyone can install. You don’t need a team, either. Our dog fencing kits come with everything you need to put in a flexible, aesthetically-pleasing fence that dogs can’t escape from and predators like coyotes and foxes can’t get in. The dig-proof barrier ensures your dog won’t tunnel under, and the flexible fence is impossible for a dog to climb.

Use our online non-electric fence calculator to find pricing. You can add components like gates and hire our professionals to install the dog fence if you prefer. Our fences do not require you to dig holes, so they are easy to install and you can even use existing trees as posts if you’d like. Watch our installation video to learn how Pet Playgrounds fencing is installed.