Repeating Cues

Sadie is in a stay at Back Cove

What are we actually doing when we repeat a cue/command to a dog?  If you think about it, we are desensitizing the dog to any meaning the word has.  I recommend you ask your dog two times, then do something different if he did not comply, like lure with a treat, change your cue and pitch, or use a long line to follow through.  Some behaviors are harder for some dogs, so please take into account what your dog is doing and how much enjoyment is he getting out of it.

I suppose you could argue that yelling a repeated command at a dog is sort of like “nagging” someone.  If so, then the reward is earned when you stop yelling or adding physical pressure toward the dog.  What if the dog does not comply?  You just rewarded him for not doing anything.  So, if you do not think your dog will “come” from the neighbors yard, then do not call him unless you have his favorite wubba, tug toy or yummy cheese.  We know rewarding good behavior will produce more of that behavior.  Try it, you will like it and so will your dog.

When should you teach the verbal cue?  First teach the behavior using a clicker, lure, shaping or capturing. After the dog is performing the behavior using a hand signal 5 out of 6 times, then you can add the verbal cue just before the hand signal.  The Cue predicts the hand signal which elicits the behavior, then reward to reinforce the correct behavior and let your dog know how awesome he/she is!