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Told off at Obedience

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Obedience trainers really do know how to make you feel like silly don't they?

 

Anyhow, yesterday at training I got yelled at because it told my 6 month old BC female the following:

 

"Lilli Sit" - well, did the trainer go off at me. She said "YOU ARE USING A SENTENCE, YOU NEED TO USE A SINGLE WORD, DOGS DO NOT UNDERSTAND SENTENCES"

 

I was a little bit embarrassed so I thought I would ask you guys, the question that when you want your dog to do something/anything, do you use a single command word? I am in the habit (possibly bad one) of talking to my dog and giving commands in very short two, three word sentences.

 

Just thought I would get your thoughts.

 

Thanks in advance.

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We tell our dogs "go to bed" when we want them to go into their crates.

Since our dogs learn this sentence command (as well as others) dogs never read the training manual your instructor uses.

Other commands our dogs learn:

Leave it

Drop it

That'll do

Get back

Get out of it

You want a treat?

Do you want to eat?

This way

Hurry up (go to the bathroom)

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Like Mark and Renee's dogs, mine have multiword commands as wel, many of them the same commands listed above.

 

I use Go Potty for a bathroom command instead of Hurry up.

 

Mine also know:

Go swim

Get water

Where's the kitty?

Get XXX (where XXX is the name of another dog)

Lie down

What do you think you're doing? (a correction, essentially)

Look back

Away here/Come bye here (means flank in close vs. normal, usually used when I want the dog to come between me and the sheep at a gate to push them off me)

Scoot over

Get out of that

 

And probably others I can't think of right now.

 

J.

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Well, "come by", "look back", "away to me"....now I know why my dogs blow me off....has to do with me using "full sentences"! Sheesh! ;)

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Let's go to Tony's (neighbor)

Let's go to Ralph's (other neighbor)

Last one (when playing with the ball, she won't beg for more)

All gone (treats)

where's the kitty? (she can herd cats!)

Go get Sam (son)

go get Dexter (husband)

go get Tyler (other son)

which one? (choosing a toy)

Go swim

Drop it

Leave it

Go to the car (yeah!)

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Funny because I was taught years and years (make that decades) ago that the proper way was to name the dog's name and then the command. The first so the dog knew you were addressing him/her (particularly good when working with multiple dogs) and the second so that dog knew what you wanted done.

 

These dogs are very capable of more than the simplest commands. Like the other responders, we use sentences along with phrases. Even if they are only picking out a word or two, they do understand the point of the sentence/phrase.

 

Does a single word like "sit" count as a sentence? Even when paired with a name?

 

Maybe you need a new instructor who can speak to a dog in more than single words...

 

What MtnFrank said was great!

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I have been an assistant 4-h dog club leader for 16 years and the leader has been in for 30. She is also a judge. We train for obedience and agility. Plus I know several other judges that are trainers. We teach that you say the dogs name and then the command. Lilli sit .The same with heel, come, stay, finish and so on but only two wards. At least that's how we do it in Indiana.

At home I talk to my dog in sentences. And like the rest of you she understands those too.

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I'm currently in a program to become a professional dog trainer. It's taught that single words are not so much easier for dogs to remember, but for people. You teach people to only say one word so they don't fall into the trap to say "sit" "sit down" "down", etc. for the same command. And we are taught to say the dog's name to get there attention, but if they are already focused you can just give the command.

 

Yet we are also taught that every situation is different and that there are no hard and fast rules, so you're trainer yelling at you is a bit ridiculous. If you had previously been using a different word for sit then he could have gently pointed out that you need to use the same command for the same behavior. Dogs don't come knowing English so you can match any behavior to any cue as long as you keep it consistent. You can tall your dog "the beaver jumped over the tree" to prompt a sit if that's what floats your boat. Longer cues may take longer to teach but that's about it.

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Add me to me to the lt of those you use sentences with the dogs, I am sure they really only understand one or two words, but it works, and who knows maybe they do what we are saying.

When I started with agility I struggled not to say Brody over, Brody touch, Brody come and just reserve a Brody for when I needed his attention, I really sounded silly.

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My dogs understand multiple commands for single things.

Sometimes I say lie down sometimes lie sometimes "name" lie down, and sometimes down and the one the get the quickest is d*#n it lie down....then they know I really know business!

 

I carry on complete conservations with my dogs and I'm sure they understand the jest of what we're talking about! ;)

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What a load of cr*p! I had a Collie that was as dumb as a bag of hammers, and he knew at least 30 commands that used more than one word. Like: go outside/inside/upstairs, get the ball - no the other ball, where's Gracie?, never mind, and many more already cited by others. He also responded to "What do you want?" or "What is it?" If he had to pee he'd go sit by the door, if he was hungry, he'd go stare at the cupboard where his kibble was kept, if he wanted to play he'd bring me a toy.

 

Moreover there were several commands that used the word "up" in combination with another word, such as "load up" (for getting in a car or crate), "c'mon up", (which meant put your forefeet over my arm or on some indicated surface, such as the vet's examining table), "shut up" which meant shut up!, and "sit up" which meant sit erect on your haunches and hold your forefeet up next to your body.

 

Rudd Weatherwax spoke to the Lassies in complete sentences, and advocated that others do so as well. He said there was no need to go around with a stick up you butt and snap out one-word commands like a Prussian drill instructor.

 

Having a Border Collie has taken the whole dog-and-language thing up several notches. There's nothing wrong with one-word commands, but certainly dogs can get the idea if you use more. Sheesh!

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Wonder what your trainer would say if when you dog did it correctly you told her Thank You. I catch myself telling mine that a lot when I ask her to do something and she does. Oh well.

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>>

"Lilli Sit" - well, did the trainer go off at me. She said "YOU ARE USING A SENTENCE, YOU NEED TO USE A SINGLE WORD, DOGS DO NOT UNDERSTAND SENTENCES"<<

 

Wow, I am appalled. Maybe her dogs don't understand sentences but mine sure do.

 

I would tell Shiro to get a toy "Pinto horse" and she would get the "Pinto horse" She had quite a few of the same horse but in different colors and each one was named....White Horse, Bay horse, Pinto horse, Zebra horse, Black horse and so forth...she knew everyone by name. You tell her to the certain horse by color and she would rummage around in her toy box until she found it and bring it to you.

 

So she got "pinto horse" and dropped it in my lap...I said to her "Shiro, you got the wrong one. I wanted Pinto horse and you got Black Horse" (or some colored horse- I don't remember)

 

I said the sentence like I was talking to my hubby. He was sitting next to me. Shiro looked at the toy, rolled it over, then picked it up and flung it at me. I pointed to the toy box and told her to get "Pinto horse" and put the "Black horse" away. She went and got "Black horse" OUT of the box and put it BACK in the box and took the "Pinto horse" off my lap and tossed it back to me. She had this look of "Are you really that stupid"" to me......

 

Jeff and I looked at each other in amazement....it was scary that she knew what we were saying. It seemed like she knew what we were saying so we began to spell words out, she figure that out quickly,...she was very smart and probably the smartest dog we ever owned. I would tell her to get me the blue dictionary and she would get the blue one and not the red one. God help us, if she could speak!

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My dogs understand multiple commands for single things.

 

 

LOL Mine, too. I tried to explain this to the trainer I've been working w/ recently and she kept telling me I had to be precise and consistent. OK, maybe for some dogs but it's not always true for BCs.

 

And there are some cues that mean different things depending on the context. I'll never forget years ago when my young niece said with some astonishment, "Aunt Roxanne, 'that'll do' means everything!"

 

Mine have always understoond the phrase "What did I ask you to do?" perfectly well. And it doesn't matter if what I had asked them to do was to sit, lie down, cut it out, whatever. When they hear "what did I ask you to do?" they do what it was I'd just asked -- and they'd ignored -- not something else.

 

roxanne

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I can use multiple words to effectively communicate with Xena.

 

If I say "go get your ball", she finds her ball and brings it to me.

 

If I say "go get your toy" (what we call her tug of war toy) she finds that and brings it to me.

 

If we are outside and I say "want to help Daddy go get the mail ?" she pulls on the leash in the direction of the mailbox at the edge of the yard and knows right where we are going to.

 

If I ask her "want an ice cube ?" she knows what I am referring to and watches expectantly.

 

There were occasionaly times when I was first teaching her the command "down" where she would sometimes only go halfway down (front only, hind end still up in the air) and after I would then say "all the way down" she would then put her hind end down also :)

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I remember when Pilley was first proposing this experiment. I just chuckled and told someone that all he had to do was go to a sheepdog trial and he'd see lots of dogs adapting cues to context all day long. ;)

 

At least he recognizes this, evidenced on the article's closing remarks: "Border collies achieve similar grammatical insights when working with farmers to learn sheep-herding commands, Pilley speculates."

 

"With enough training, other dog breeds could also get a paw-hold on grammar, he predicts." I'll have to wait and see if other breeds are as language oriented as BCs. I'm not so sure about that.

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lets see... commands that sage knows:

 

Load up

Lie down

Got to bed

No paws (stops him mid jump, and he takes his paws off of what ever he happens to have them on)

Go potty

Ok (release word)

Not your bed (when he decides my bed is more comfortable)

Not on the couch (when he is playing with Harry)

Wait (instead of stay)

 

And more that I can't think of at the moment. :D Though currently trying to teach him "bring it" for when I want him to bring me his toy.

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You might ask your trainer how bout 1 word commands or the same words with different inflections can mean totally different things. Aaaaaawaaaaay tooooo meeee means go really wide. Away means not to far or, Way is really the direction but don't really go out. And away to me is a medium or regular cast.

I just confused myself but the dog sure gets it! :)

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My dogs know:

 

Don't stick your face in the kitty! (ie, quit pestering the ancient old cat)

Don't harass the chickens!

 

 

I regularly work both my dogs together, and if I attach a name to command, only that dog will take it (usually...), whereas if I just say, for example, "come bye", both dogs will flank. It's pretty handy when moving 100 ewes in tall grass to have two dogs behind them!

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Sentences used and understood:

 

Go get a drink.

Go jump in the pond.

Get in the golf cart and I'll take you for a ride.

Let so work sheep.

You getting hungry?

Go find ______(who or whatever)

 

That's just a sampling there are many many more.

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