What’s Your “Command”?

We can ask an animal to do something vocally or through body language (or telepathically for all of my very, very dedicated readers!! ;).

After a while it can get unclear to which our animals are responding to. Are they waiting to hear the command or are they following your unintentional body language? It can take a while to separate, investigate and the recombine these factors.

An easy example is asking your dog to jump out of the car. Some people don’t care and they just open the door. But for your dog’s safety (when getting out by roads, etc) and for a good communication it’s best to teach them to jump out when you ask.

Let’s say your command for this is “Okay!” Very often someone will say “Okay” to their dog and then take a step back. If asked to step back without saying “Okay”, the dog often just jumps out anyway, even though they weren’t technically asked to. Aha! So it isn’t clear what the signal is for leaving the car. What about if you just say “Okay” and don’t take a step back? Could you open the car door, walk away, and still have your dog stay there waiting for your sign?

That would clearly show your dog understands what and when you’re asking.

I find that if you’ve decided to teach your dog that a certain word or sign means a certain behavior, you should stick with it and clearly show your dog that only that sign or word means that particular behavior. Otherwise they start doing all sorts of things right when you didn’t want it. And for a dog getting out of a car by a busy road, that isn’t a good thing!

If you don’t teach your dog a certain command for something, that’s also fine. We just can’t expect a dog to suddenly know what we’re talking about if they never learned it. My dog Mowgli and I can do everything without speaking and only body language. But I am very clear what I mean even with that. That way there are no misunderstandings!

Josh Schutz I own no rights to this photo.

Josh Schutz
I own no rights to this photo.


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