Adding Important Cues To Your Dog’s Training
In my last post I talked about What Is a Dog Cue and When Do You Use It? Today we’ll continue with the topic of cues and discuss adding additional cues:
First, let me say…teach one cue first, then string the new, or unknown cue ahead of the known cue. Practice and test.
A cue you will want to start using right away is a release cue. It tells the dog they are finished with what you were doing. This is a non-action cue, and easily taught by getting them up and moving when they have done what you want.
Release cues are very important; how long is a dog required to STAY (or WAIT) if you leave it up to them? When are they finished heeling and when can he go sniff or play? By teaching a cue that means, “you can quit doing that now” you empower the meaning of your cues to mean “Until I tell you otherwise.”
A release cue can also be used to go through doorways and get out of the car or crate, or whatever you’ve asked your dog to do, you are letting him know, “HE’S ALL DONE.”
Suggested Cues and Signals
Cue: “ALL DONE.”
Signal: Put both hands up near your head and wiggle your hands back and forth in a twisting motion.
Then get the dog up and moving! Teach them this means they are finished and can move.
Lost Chances: “Uh-Uh! Uh-Oh!”
Signal: The use of a marker that says “you blew a chance to earn a reward” should be used fairly and when necessary, but not overused. Clicker training teaches the dogs to make good choices and a “no reward” mark signals to the dog that he blew it. It is considered a form of punishment, not something to be taken lightly.
When your dog blows a STAY or doesn’t sit when cued, or some other mistake, some people feel a need to “tell” the dog he messed up. We use NRM’s such as “too bad” or “uh-uh” to indicate this to the dog. Be cautious about over-using them, do not click or treat (no reinforcement of the wrong choice), but immediately follow up with another opportunity for your dog to make the right choice. i.e., cue again, and let your dog try again to give you what you want. Give him a change to redeem himself…
As a dog trainer, I believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are, under given circumstances and situations.