Teaching your dog command words is one of the most rewarding achievements you can experience as a dog owner. Proper verbal command development makes your life easier, makes your dog’s life safer, and strengthens the bond between you and your furry best friend. When choosing the right command words, you’re creating a communication system that only you and your dog (or dogs) understand. Here are some tips to make sure you pick words that will last, and will work.
- Choose a short word (preferably one syllable) that will grab your dog’s attention quickly. The faster the command, the faster the recognition and response.
- Steer clear of words that are frequently used in everyday conversation. If your dog is constantly hearing a command word out of context, it will lose it’s meaning. Feel free to use a word in a different language, as long as you remember it!
- Verbal commands are often complemented by hand gestures, so if you decide to use a hand gesture, it MUST be as consistent as the command word itself.
- When teaching a new command (especially if you’re training a puppy) smiles simply are not enough praise. Treats are an excellent reward when praising your dog for a job well done.
- Remember to only give treats when your dog responds to your command. If he happens to sit, stay, roll-over or release a toy without prompting, giving a treat will only confuse him.
- Being consistent with your commands is absolutely essential. Remember, you’re developing a communication system between the two of you, and practicing consistency is the only way to make it stick. If you missed it, check out this video about being consistent.
Stay tuned for next week when Malaika shows us how to properly use the command word “place!”
Need extra help with command words? Need a full training overhaul for your pup? Call our office at (775) 800-1011 to book your appointment!