Stop, Drop, and Heel: Training Your Dog to Avoid Car Accidents

Dog training

Tyson, a one-year-old schnauzer mix, is an adept escape artist. Unfortunately, he recently slipped through his fence and was hit by a car, causing a broken leg and other (minor) injuries to Tyson. A compassionate police officer rushed him to an animal hospital, where he was treated for his wounds and was later reunited with his distressed, searching family (KXII). Tragically, Tyson’s story is all too common, with around 1.2 million dogs involved in car accidents every year (PetsTech). Animal hospitals like ours are especially well-equipped to treat these types of emergencies, with life-saving surgeries and round-the-clock care. However, our hope is that your dog will never need these types of services.

It’s very easy to decrease the likelihood of your dog being involved in a car accident; you can begin training your dog for road safety today! Here are a few good habits you can start practicing with your dog:

  • One of the most important commands for your dog to know is “come.” Work with them diligently to be sure they come when called, without fail.


  • Teach them to stop, sit, and wait for a command before crossing the street. This is very easy to do! Just incorporate it into your daily walk routine and repeat it every time you cross a street. Be sure to have a unique command for permitting them to cross the street, and be sure your dog knows that they must wait to hear it before crossing.


  • If your dog has a flawless response to the “down” command, then an excellent safety tool is the “drop on recall” in which the dog immediately drops into the “down” position on command, particularly while they are running. This will ensure that if they do decide to bolt towards traffic, a quick command from you will stop them in their tracks. Janice Gunn shows some great ideas for teaching this command in her video, which features her dog, Raisin.


Using these safety ideas, you can rest easy knowing that even if your dog escapes from your yard like Tyson did, they will have strong habits in place to help keep them safe while they roam the streets until you bring them back home.

For more tips on dog safety, or for any care your dog might need, be sure to contact us today. We’d love to hear from you and your pooch!