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Doc_C

Give Command?

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How many times should I give a command (e.g. sit) to the dog when training it. In other words, should I say, sit.....sit...sit, etc., or sit.............?

 

Doc

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Hi Doc

I would say that your ultimate aim is to give the command once only. If you are going on to do obedience with your dog, then the dog must respond on first command. However, even if obedience trials aren't your 'thing' responding on first command is still important. Say for instance your dog is running off leash and some unexpected distraction occurs. For your dog's safety, and your peace of mind it would be great if you could call out 'down' or 'flat' and he immediately 'hits' the ground. Don't laugh, cos this may sound daft, but I used to tell my pup to sit, when she was actually sitting. Then I would tell her 'that's a good sit' putting emphasis on the word sit. I've also held a treat at such an angle that she backs into a sit, then as her bottom goes down, I say 'sit'. Our puppy trainer advised us to never push down on the hip area if possible, but to scoop one hand under pup's bottom and apply the tiniest amount of pressure to the hind legs [at the back of the knee area]. Always praise a result, and try not to make a big deal of a non result. Border Collies want to please and can get quite upset if you shout at them. A herder on TV recently explained that if he shouted at one of his girls she just plain refused to work. Good luck.

Regards, Val

 

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Val Clark

Hailsham, United Kingdom

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Far be it for me to talk much about training....and I don't know if this would work AT ALL for later/herding type commands. But it does work in agility, and at least to some extent, with basic "sit" type commands. The key is that the dog should ALREADY be doing what you want it to (like Val says....); THEN give the command (or give the command as the dog does the behavior). The idea is: they have the "muscle memory" to do something, then you put the name to it. If you tell a dog "sit," and they continue standing, even for 10 seconds, then sit, they're liable to think the command means, literally, "stand for 10 seconds, then sit." I know this is exaggerated, but you get the idea (I hope!). Holding the treat over their head, and back a little, works GREAT for sit. I've had a much harder time with "stay" - but again, just praise for staying, even when I hadn't told them to, seems to reinforce the correct behavior.

 

One other little tidbit: I have one BC who's reluctant to do much of anything I say, until she's darned well ready. I started being adamant about the "one word" sit command, and when she didn't do it, rather than hitting or touching her, I'd snap my fingers. NOW she thinks "sit" is always followed by a finger snap, and then she usually sits! Ahhhh the minds of our friends! Good luck

 

diane

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I vote for one command, but have also blown it in training. Before Siena gets to chase geese, she has to sit. I give the command and she squats with her little rear about 1 inch off the ground...ready to go. She knows that the geese come next. So I have to tell her "all the way" then that little rear goes all the way down and we're off!

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Diane,

 

Introducing herding commands follows basically the same pattern you're describing. You use body language to make the dog do what you want, and then start associating the words and whistles with the body language.

 

After a while, you can remove the body language, although it still comes in handy in times of high pressure.

 

Molly learned whistles this past summer after six years of working on voice commands only (I didn't know how to whistle) and it was easier than I thought it would be. I just kept saying what I wanted and then whistling the command. After about three weeks, the whistles were as good as the words.

 

 

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Bill Fosher

Surry, NH

 

 

 

[This message has been edited by Bill Fosher (edited 01-25-2000).]

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Another thing I'd like to add Doc is, when teaching, say, the sit, don't settle for a 'down'. I've seen this happen many times in agility training. One particular woman has a very hyper dog, not a BC. You can hear her [from miles away] screaming 'sit' at him, and eventually he goes into a 'down'. Handler looks round as if to say 'well at least he's not running around anymore', then praises him. If this woman is accepting two different responses from one command then it's no wonder she has problems.

Regards, Val

 

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Val Clark

Hailsham, United Kingdom

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