When To Teach The Command

Discussion in 'Advanced Dog Training' started by kassidybc, Jul 22, 2013.


Do you introduce the command immediately when teaching a trick, or do you wait to add the command?

I introduce the command as soon as I start teaching the trick. 1 vote(s) 10.0%
I introduce the command once my dog basically has the trick learned. 5 vote(s) 50.0%
I introduce the command sometime in between. 4 vote(s) 40.0%
  1. kassidybc Experienced Member

    When teaching a trick, some people introduce the command right from the get go, and others wait until they basically have the trick down before adding the command. Which way do you do, and why do you do it that way? What are the pros and cons of each way?

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I think those that wait to teach it do so because any mistakes that you as the trainer may make, or any problems in the dog's understanding may "poison" the cue. If you wait until the dog is doing it the way you want reliably before giving the verbal cue, it keeps the cue clean. For simpler behaviors like sit and down which are "one step", often lured behaviors, you could teach the verbal cue simultaneously, but most books I have read by experienced trainers recommend waiting.
  3. Mutt Experienced Member

    Brodys_mom explained it very clearly!

    I usely add the command when I am certain the dog will show the behavior, so for me it is the last step (while fading the lure/target).
    kassidybc, brodys_mom and 648117 like this.
  4. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I add the command right away with a puppy that is likely to do the behavior. If I am not sure that they are going to do it right away I just lure and see. If they do it once or twice and I am sure they are going to do it again I add the behavior right away. I wait with older dogs and when we are doing a complex task until I know they are going to get it. Some trainers get the behavior and then immediately follow it with the word. I have never done this because I was always taught to say the word followed by the behavior. I think Dogs have a knack for picking up new behaviors regardless of how they are taught though and I have noticed that they can learn with just about any method or variation of method.
    kassidybc likes this.
  5. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I have read several dog training books by different celebrity trainers, and there is one, Tamar Geller, who trains Oprah's dogs. She recommends starting with the command the first time you lure them into it, using a slow, sing-songy voice. "Siiiiiiiiiiit". Then "good sit" when they finish, and treats and jackpots. She does not use a clicker as far as I can tell from her books.
  6. Mutt Experienced Member

    But how would she do that with a complex (chain) behavior? That works as long as it is a simple (one action) behavior :)
    brodys_mom likes this.
  7. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I didn't particularly like her book, The Loved Dog Method. It's okay, but not really precise enough for trick training, more for basic commands and manners. There are much better books and trainers out there, I just happened to see it on the shelf at our library.
    Mutt likes this.
  8. Mutt Experienced Member

    Ooh totally not meant negative, but a sincere question, tough I suspected it was only simple behavior.
    I have read multiple posts now from you about dog books, any that you can advise/like? :)
    brodys_mom likes this.
  9. DaniG Well-Known Member

    I do mine somewhere in the middle, once my dog has a general idea of what I want him/her to do, but not when they are completely solid on it. I don't have a good explanation as to why I do it this way though, its just my personal training style I guess and it works for us :-)
    brodys_mom likes this.
  10. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Sorry, I just saw this post. It depends on what you are looking for in a book. I have been reading pretty much every dog book in our library system. Some I toss aside pretty quickly because I don't agree with their methods. Others I read through, but don't find anything new. Most of them are very similar to each other, just differences in personal style. Right now I am more interested in how to handle problem behaviors than how to teach tricks. I find videos of trick training better as I am a visual learner, but for problem behaviors, it's more about the psychology, so books are okay. I am reading an e-book called "The Dog Aggression System" by Jackie Ferrier. I really like it, because it is very specific to dealing with aggression, but it gives really helpful tips on day to day living with an aggressive dog. Of course, I have read "Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson, which every dog owner should read (free online!), and "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons. Also "The Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell. I really want to read Dr. Ian Dunbar's books, but our library doesn't have them. His website is great, though, with lots of articles and podcasts.
    Mutt likes this.
  11. Mutt Experienced Member

    Thanks for the tips, I' going to read clash of cultures, the other books the library probably doesn't have, but they sound interesting as well!
    brodys_mom likes this.
  12. barnhill Experienced Member

    It depends on the behavior I guess. Like stated above, the sit and downs I pretty much used my command from the start. But for my two on two off work with Tempest, I still havent added a command yet. Reason being I want her to understand completly what I am looking for before I add a command. If she is on the dog walk and I give my verbal cue and she doesnt know exactly what I want she could turn and look at me for more info or even stop, both of which could be unsafe.
    Mutt likes this.
  13. Mutt Experienced Member

    Same here barnhill,
    I'm teaching mazzel the weaving poles by really letting him think for himself (2x2 around the lock method) and though we are at4 poles now, I still haven't add the command.
  14. 648117 Honored Member

    Holly doesn't have a contact or weave poll command.

    If she is on a dog walk or A-frame then she just knows she has to hit the contact every time, the equipment is the cue (it's also harder for her to miss the contact due to her size so I'm not as strict as I probably should be).
    Same with the weave polls, if I'm directing her towards them then she knows that she is to do the weave polls (although I guess I sometimes say "weave" as she enters them but she will do them even if I don't), I can't stand it when people run along next to the dog while it's weaving saying "weave, weave, weave, weave, weave" or clapping the entire time.

    I also don't like it when people SCREAM at their dog to hit the contact (I've seen this a lot).

    But I am not a very loud person with Holly, I don't need to be. I got told at our last Rally-O competition that the judge can't hear what I'm saying to Holly, so I could (theoretically) give as many repeat commands as I like without getting points off because they can't hear me :sneaky:
  15. southerngirl Honored Member

    From what I understand people do that to excite the dog to get them to go faster, not because they feel that the dog needs to be told to weave through each and every pole.
  16. 648117 Honored Member

    Maybe that is the case.

    But the dog does not seem to go faster due to the clapping/"weaving" and I think if I did it to Holly she would find it very distracting.

    But I guess different dogs must react differently.
    Dlilly likes this.
  17. Dlilly Honored Member

    I was teaching Rory to blow bubbles in water yesterday, and I added the cue once he started offering the behavior on his own. Then I would say 'Bubbles' when I could tell he was going to blow bubbles again. That's what I do with most tricks, and he seems to understand it.
    Mutt likes this.
  18. Dlilly Honored Member

    This sometimes doesn't work though, because you then have to run next to your dog every time they weave telling them to weave. Even for dogs it 'works' for, I think finding a different way to make them drive forward would make more efficient.

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