by | Feb 14, 2024 | Trainer's Posts | 1 comment

Downstays in the Kitchen




Practicing daily downstays is a must-have for any service dog routine, but there is one tip that I like to recommend to all dog owners . . . and that is downstays in the kitchen.


There are many hazards in the kitchen. Our children learn at an early age to keep their hands off the stove and to stay away from boiling water. But what about our dogs? We can’t explain logic to them any better than we can to a 6-month-old baby but the difference is that many of our dogs can reach the stovetop with the greatest of ease. They see you spending a good amount of time there, focusing on something that smells truly delightful. As soon as your back is turned, they have the potential to learn a very painful lesson.


And then there’s the risk of carrying boiling water. You are careful not to spill any as you precariously balance a heavy, steaming pot from the stovetop to the sink, but what happens when you have a dog suddenly underfoot? This is a trip hazard that would end very badly for you and your pup.






How often do you have freshly-sharpened kitchen knives at dog-level when you’re loading the dishwasher? They are often coated in a delicious smelling temptation for a curious pup – but puppy tongues and razor-sharp metal aren’t a combination I like to entertain.


For these reasons, and many others, I recommend all service dogs practice an on-leash down stay when their handler is busy in the kitchen. And I don’t stop there; I encourage all dogs to learn this very important obedience command so it is a regular safety practice. Once the dog is trained, all a handler needs to do if their dog stands up, is to go put their foot on the leash (which is already attached to their collar, of course) and issue a verbal, ‘no, down’. This alleviates the need to wash hands between reinforcement (and, yes, you should always wash your hands between handling a leash and preparing food. Even a clean leash is resting on the floor as you cook.)


This is just one example of how practical obedience is used in everyday life. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks for easier (and safer) living with your dog.




Written by Katie Gonzalez, Founder of Little Angels Service Dogs

1 Comment

  1. Chris

    We do this as archer is a bigger dog and lissa can trip on him. I found putting him in a downstay was the best way to let him continue to watch her without being in the way


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