Communicating with our Canine Friends

Although, the average dog can understand about 165 words, they don’t think about them like we do! Our language is much more highly evolved and we’ve learned to add the extra words that make complete sentences. Dogs don’t think like that!

As you start teaching your dogs different commands, think about limiting your vocabulary. The most common commands to start with are sit, down, place, heel, wait, come, here, and leave it.  If we say those commands in complete sentences, our dog has to pick out the command.

When we ask something of our canine friends, we often forget that they need clear precise communication.  Instead of saying, “Fido, it’s time to go to your place!” We should say, “Fido, place!”

Using their name before a command should work, as long as we only use their name for good things. But if we use their name when they’re naughty or use their name with a negative tone, were rolling the dice.

Even more confusing is using multiple commands for the same thing. How often have you said, “Fido, can you go to your place please?” When he doesn’t, we follow up with, “Come on! Place!” And then, “GO TO YOUR PLACE!!” While it may be frustrating for you when they don’t respond, imagine how Fido feels!

The key here is to get rid of “babble” words. Stick to the one-word commands like place, heel, sit. If they don’t perform the task the first time, help them complete it.  Don’t reason with them, or repeat the command over and over.  This is fair and proper communication.

Remember, we’ve trained them to respond to our verbal cues and they are champs, so try not confuse them. We want our words to mean something to them. That way, when we say something after using their name, they will pay attention because they know it important.  Remember, they were conditioned to focus after they heard their name, because it always resulted in something positive.

So, if your dog’s obedience is slowly getting sloppy, or they’re just not listening, make sure your commands are single words and not whole sentences. Make sure you’re not creating puzzles for your dog to figure out.  Remember, dogs do everything by instinct, and if they start doing something we don’t like, it’s generally because of us.  This is the complex puzzle we know as canines.