Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by lizzyrd, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. lizzyrd Experienced Member

    I originally asked this question in my introduction post but got zero responses. Maybe that wasn't the right place to post a question. So I'm trying here, and this time I'll keep it short.

    My dog knows a few commands but doesn't always perform on verbal cue only. Should I work 1 command until he gets it every time on the verbal cue only? Or should I continue training new commands to keep it interesting?


  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    Dogs usually rely on their sight a lot more than sounds - so they will pick up a hand signal much faster than a verbal command.

    May I ask which behavior you want reliably on command?

    From personal experience, I have found that dogs learn faster when you incorporate the command one second before the hand signal.


    "Command SIT!" <1sec> "Signal Sit!" <1sec> "Dog should offer sit ... click!" <1sec> "Give treat"
  3. lizzyrd Experienced Member

    Most recently, I taught him to roll over. Sometimes he does it on command but sometimes he waits for the cue. I'm not sure if he thinks he's supposed to wait for the cue since I offer it every time because sometimes he looks like he's gonna roll over when I say "roll over" but then he stops and waits for the hand signal.

    Sit and lay down and sometimes stay are very reliable on verbal cue only. Should I work towards the verbal cue only for behaviors I deem important?

    Is it possible that I'm teaching too many at once before he performs correctly every time on previously taught behaviors?

    Thank you for your time. I appreciate the advice.
  4. Jean Cote Administrator

    You should only use the command once you know for absolute that your dog is going to offer the behavior after saying it.

    So if he is stopping and looking at you after you say it - it hasn't been associated yet. You still need to practice the command + hand signal for many more sessions, maybe even a week. (Depending on how many sessions per day).

    An important thing to remember is that when you give your command - you should not give ANY body language. You should be standing still. Many people make the mistake of saying their command AT THE SAME TIME that they give their hand signal. This will never work. There has to be a 1 second gap between the two.

    So if you train the command + hand signal often enough, you will see your dog wanting to roll over just before you give your signal (or right after the command). This is the time that you can give him a jackpot (give him many treats) to reinforce him for going after the command.

    Another thing to remember is that the tone of voice of your command should always remain the same. Some people tend to change tone of voice depending on how they feel, this will confuse your dog. So pick a tone of voice you want to use and stick with it throughout your training. :dogsmile:

    If you are going to train multiple behaviors, I suggest that you train them separately. In other words, train the roll over for a few minutes and then switch location and train another behavior.

    Hope this helps,
    Jean :)
  5. lizzyrd Experienced Member

    I just recently started implementing the 1 second between the command and the hand signal. But I didnt' think about my body movement (other than the hand signal) and my tone of voice. I will start checking myself on those.

  6. Jean Cote Administrator

    Yup, a camcorder usually reveals many things ... that's what I noticed when I first got mine. :)

    Sometimes we move without even realizing it. I remember seeing a girl saying down while she nodded her head, she never realized that her dog was simply looking for the nod instead of listening for the command. :D
  7. lizzyrd Experienced Member

    So it turned out to be my voice inflection. I was saying it in a monotone way and, more often, in a way that the pitch of my voice went up at the end of the command. I realized he was doing it when I said it the second way, so I trained yesterday saying it that way only.
  8. lizzyrd Experienced Member

    This video is actually from the day before I got your response, but it shows that I said the command the 2nd way and he performed without a hand signal. Yay! Go Buddha!

  9. lizzyrd Experienced Member

    Ok the video doesn't work embedded so here's a link.
  10. Jean Cote Administrator

    It worked fine here with the embeded video. :dogsmile:

    You might want to reconsider using your dog's name before every command, usually the name is only used to get the dog's attention back on you.

    If you often train using his name in the command, then he is going to learn that the command is "Buddha Lay Down!" and not just "Lay Down!". It might also confuse him in the long run because all commands start off the same. :dogsmile:

    P.S. You are doing great and Buddha seems so interested in training with you, great job! :dogsmile:
  11. lizzyrd Experienced Member

    Eep! I didn't even realize I did that. :msnblushing:

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