Dog running from owner
Dabl At Home Dec 2020
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Dabl at Home

How The Emergency Word Could Save Your Dog’s Life

Teaching the emergency word will help ensure your dog will always come back to you even in dangerous or highly distracting situations.

While we hope you and your dog are never in a life threatening situation, smart pet parents plan for the worst and hope for the best. While we never want anything bad to happen, being prepared before emergencies occur helps us handle them in the best and safest ways possible. One way to do just that is to make sure your dog will come back to you when you need him to most. This is where the emergency word comes in. 

While most dogs do come when their owners call them, some are more reliable than others — especially when they are distracted by something they really want. But what happens when your dog decides to chase a squirrel out of your yard and into a busy road? Or what do you do when you find a rattlesnake on your hike and your dog wants to check it out? Alternatively, maybe your dog is trying to approach an aggressive dog and you know it won’t go well! You need your dog to come back to you ASAP. If you train your dog correctly, he will come to you when you use the emergency word even if he doesn’t have the most reliable recall with his typical command for come. 

As the name suggests, the emergency word should only be used in emergency situations. When you use the word, your dog needs to know you mean business. If you overuse the word, it will lose some of its significance. Therefore, you should only use the emergency word during training sessions and in actual emergencies. 

Your emergency word should also NOT be a word you use every day. It shouldn’t be your pet’s name and it definitely shouldn’t be another command. However, you should pick a word that is short and snappy, and one that you will remember in moments of panic. Words like now, back, here, treat, quick, pronto, or touch all tend to work well. Although, the emergency word can be anything you want! We even know someone who uses pineapple as her pet’s emergency word! 

Although you should only use the emergency word in training and when there is a need, it’s a command that can never be over-practiced. Some dog trainers say your dog needs to follow the command accurately at least 100 times before they can be considered reliable! If you are ever in a situation where you need to use the emergency word, the practice will pay off! 

When you teach your dog the emergency word, make sure you have their absolute favorite high-value treats on hand. In addition to high-value dog treats, small amounts of hot dogs, string cheese, and chicken also make great rewards. If you are training your dog by yourself, keep the reward in your fist and hold it out, call your dog using your emergency word, and reward him with the treat when he comes. Start by keeping your dog in front of you on a leash, and then slowly increase the distance and difficulty. At first, you will be standing right in front of your dog. But by the end, you should be able to call your dog from anywhere in the house and he will come even if he can’t see you. The key is to always have a high-value treat ready to reward your dog when he listens to create the ultimate positive association. 

If you have multiple people in your house, you can work together to teach your dog the emergency word. Start by sitting or standing fairly close together, such as on two ends of a room or on each end of a hallway. Take turns calling your dog with the emergency word and rewarding him with treats. As your dog begins to understand, increase the distance between each person. For example, start calling your dog from different rooms. Or have one person be upstairs and another person downstairs. Feel free to get creative! If you have a puppy or high-energy dog, this is also a great way to exercise your pup and work off excess energy! 

Although it’s rarely included in the basic dog commands all new pet owners need to know, we truly believe that the emergency word could have the power to save your dog’s life. Knowing your dog will come back to you at the moment it matters most is so important. If you’re ready to start teaching emergency recall, use some of our favorite training tools below! 

Mendota ProductsMendota Products

Mendota Products Small Slip Solid Rope Dog Leash

Lots of animal trainers recommend using short slip lead leashes for dog training. Slip leads tend to provide greater control over your pet to help facilitate training and also make sure they stay close during the training session. This particular leash is waterproof and comes in many vibrant colors! 


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Downtown Pet SupplyDowntown Pet Supply

Downtown Pet Supply Training Dog Lead

Part of recall training requires practice! But if you don’t fully trust your dog to come back yet, use a long leash to increase the distance while keeping him tethered to you. These colorful leashes give you 50 feet to practice the emergency word! 

$14 (On Sale!)

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Pet BotanicsPet Botanics

Pet Botanics Training Reward Bacon Flavor Dog Treats, 20-oz Bag

The most important part of training the emergency word, aside from the word itself, is the treat! These bacon-flavored treats are great for dog training because they are tasty, healthy, and nutritious! The bite-size chews are the perfect rewards for good behavior! 

$15 (On Sale!)

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WholeHearted Culinary Cuts Beef Recipe Jerky Dog Treats, 16 oz.

WholeHearted prioritizes culinary excellence and making top-notch, flavorful dog treats. These popular treats are made from real beef, and WholeHearted offers a variety of high-value treats in all kinds of flavors that will become your dog's new favorite with one bite! Although they are bigger treats, they easily break into smaller pieces that can be used as training rewards. Click here to shop other WholeHearted flavors! 

$20 (On Sale!)

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