When your dog can leave things on command, you can direct her not to pick up or even go near certain things—a very useful ability. For example, you can prevent your dog from accidentally ingesting toxic substances, or you can save your new pair of shoes from a set of teeth marks.
This exercise, also called “red light/green light,” teaches your dog that pulling on leash is not the way to get anywhere. The only way for him to make forward progress is to control his sled-dog impulses.
Just like you would turn to look when someone says your name, dogs can learn to do the same. If your dog learns to pay attention to you when you say his name, he is more likely to hear when you give him verbal cues, see where you are going, and learn what you are trying to teach him.
Coming when called is one of the most important commands your dog can learn from both a usefulness and safety standpoint. Dogs don’t automatically come when called—regardless of how much they love and respect you. The only way to get a dog to come reliably when called is to train him to do it.
Life with a dog comes with many benefits, but also involves many responsibilities. It’s important to carefully think through the decision to adopt, because owning a dog is a commitment that can last anywhere from 10 to 17 years.