I'm Not Very Creative :( Any Ideas?


Experienced Member
Hey guys..

Ok, so this is probably a bit of a silly post.. But I can't for the life of me think of a good cue word for this..

Lego is ridiculously talkative, depending on her level of excitement she usually BELLOWS/howls/sings/barks/grumbles/growls etc when she's excited, indignant, wants attention - the list goes on and on. Because of the few people who are intimidated by this behaviour, and the whole pit bull thing, I thought it might make it a little cuter if she did it on command.. I would ask her the question "Lego, are you a bad dog?" and ideally she would grumble and talk back at me. At first she'd do it off and on, but lately she just seems to get stressed and lose her brain when I ask.. She does every trick in the book and sneezes repeatedly each time I ask.. Even if I give her a hint by making the noise myself. Soo.. apparently I've inadvertantly taught my dog to sneeze on command, but that's it :confused::LOL:. I'm starting to wonder if maybe that phrase "Are you a bad dog?" is too long for me to start her out with? Is it a better idea to start with a single word command and THEN incorporate it? And if so, what word?!! I thought about using "bad dog".. The key words in the phrase.. But then that's probably just confusing for her. So now I'm stuck.

Basically, that whole long deal was to explain that I need a completely new phrase/word to teach her for this particular trick, so I'm wondering if any of you clever people out there have any ideas for a funny command that I could use for this?

Adrianna & Calvin

Experienced Member
I would teach it with a hand sign, then you can say whatever you want :) My late dog's cue for this was me pointing my finger at him (in the 'are you naughty??' way), it was very cute. I could say, "did you steal the garbage?" or whatever I wanted.

BTW the sneezing is a sign of stress. She may be doing it because she doesn't understand what you mean, or possibly because she is unsure if there is an element of reprimand.


Honored Member
LOL she sure is talkative and with a huge doggy vocabulary. Maybe 'not good' or 'don't like' but I like the hand signal, that would give greater versatility in what you could ask her.

I'm using hand signals for 'yes' 'no' as I tried some different word cues and both dogs looked at me as if I had gone mad. The hand cue though is working and I'm getting the right head movement for yes or no, well from Ra Kismet, Zeus isn't too sure but he's very slow at learning tricks.


Experienced Member
BTW the sneezing is a sign of stress. She may be doing it because she doesn't understand what you mean, or possibly because she is unsure if there is an element of reprimand.​
Funnily enough I only just learned that myself last month! I couldn't for the life of me figure out why she'd started to sneeze when I'd ask, and then she explained that its a stress/anxiety/excitement release. It makes a bit more sense now.. I think you're probably right, she's stressing out because she doesn`t understand what she's being asked.. I don't think I've never reprimanded her while training (other than for slipping up and trying to eat my hand along with the treat, and even then it was just a "heyyyy, be gentle"), so I'm not sure she'd be expecting one, but perhaps she hears the "bad dog" in there? I'm sure that's a long shot, especially because of the tone in how I say it, but who knows :S. Either way at this point I'm going to stop stressing and confusing my dog until I find a better way of doing things... Though I might have to try and see if I can tweak things to teach her to sneeze on command.. Hmmm..

I think the hand signal could definitely work.. Like I said, I'd been using the shrugged shoulder/hands up sign, so maybe I could just take it from there. Maybe its because its the morning and I haven't had my coffee though, but I just can't seem to get how I could teach her to make noise with just a hand signal, no verbal cue. Would I just do it every time I catch her volcalizing? I'm sure that sounds really dumb, seeing as how I have hand cues for every other trick, but for some reason I'm just a bit foggy right now. Any ideas to get my ball rolling?

LOL she sure is talkative and with a huge doggy vocabulary.
Oh you have noo idea MaryK, one of these days I'll record a typical greeting as I walk through the door.. She sounds like a bear she bellows so loud!! :ROFLMAO:

But.. That will have to be all for now.. As we speak, Lego is slowly leaning more and more onto my lap (and on top of my laptop) and impatiently pawing at my shoulder for some attention. Somebody doesn't like to be ignored..

Adrianna & Calvin

Experienced Member
Would I just do it every time I catch her volcalizing? Any ideas to get my ball rolling?
Yes, capturing definitely works! My dog learned it when he was younger and mouthy, and my roommate at the time would waggle his finger at him if he was mouthy. My dog would give a grunt/grumble in frustration, and a cue was born :) Unless you can incite the vocalization (which I couldn't do with my dog), you need to capture it. It was very cute, I would often point at my dog and say 'speak!' and he would make his drawn out grumbling noise instead of the bark that people expected :)


Honored Member
I used capturing to teach Jinx to speak.
Actually it was her halfsister that helped me to put it on cue:D
Sky knows speak and every time her owner would ask for a speak, Jinx would follow Sky's bark with a bark. So I rewarded that.
As Jinx had two responses to this, a loud bark and a soft bark, I even managed to get both on cue. So What do you say? is a loud bark and Whisper is a soft woof;)
I could never get Cooper to do this. He just doesn't bark.


Experienced Member
Looking forward to hearing a vid of Lego greeting you
My boyfriend attempted to capture her "talking" to him last night while I was away, just for you :) I'm going to take another video when I get home, just because her range of sounds is way more and her level of excitement is through the ROOF then. Normally she makes alot more "woo wooooo!" noises, whereas here she's just being grumbly and silly.. And she wonders why people are often scared when she greets them this way :rolleyes:

I WISH Lego was disciplined enough to do the soft/normal bark.. My sister's Great Dane does the same thing and I love it! But she rarely barks as it is - Unless she hear's someone coming to the door, and even then its just a few random "Boof" noises, haha

I had two other ideas though, if you guys don't mind... My boss seems convinced that I wont be able to teach a smile without her offering it first in some way.. So I may put that one on hold for a bit. But my next idea was that, right before she goes to make her "Woo wooo!" noise, she puckers her lips up like shes about to give a kiss. I wonder if catching and clicking her riiighhht before any noise comes out, and using the cue "Pucker up" if she'll eventually do that on cue? My other thought was that, when she's itchy behind her ear (on the side with no back leg), or if you tickler her there, she can't scratch, and so you'll see her quite often pulling half of her face back and her stump twitching trying to scratch... Now.. I always get up and go scratch for her, but I think the half stretched face that she makes is hilarious! I call it her "strokey face" :p. Do you guys think that's even possible to train on cue if I happen to capture/tickle her into doing it, and then clicking and treating? I just think it'd would be a hilarious trick to have half of her face freeze like that on cue :ROFLMAO: