Sunday, 1 February 2009

Say what you mean

following on from the Talk Less post I though about what we actually say to our dogs and how important it is for us to think about what we want the words we say to mean for our dogs.
The word 'down' is the best example of this
What do you want 'down' to mean??
Most people will say they want the dog to lie down when they say it.
But then think about when you actually use the word and how it can be confusing to the dog

'Sit down' we actually want the dog to sit - but from the dogs point of view there is two commands given there - 'sit' and 'down' so I just use 'Sit' when I want the dog to sit

'down' to get off people or things. Ben did a wonderful example of doing exactly what he was told when he was very little, he had jumped up on a lady, she knew I was trying to stop him doing that so she said 'Down' to him, little angel folded up into a down position while he still had his paws up on her legs, so he was in a down at 45 degrees.

To get off things I use 'off' to mean get onto the floor.

As dogs pick up so well on everything we say it might be a good idea to write a list of the commands you want to use (and what you want the word to mean)and make sure everyone sticks to them. Also the dog can learn far faster if you have a hand signal that goes along with the word. I point to the sky for 'sit' to the ground for 'down' and I use the palm of my hand in a pushing away motion for 'off'


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