It is ironic how often I have to repeat to my students, not to repeat their commands!
And I get that it is hard advice to follow.
It’s just so tempting to reaffirm a command if your dog doesn’t sit the first time.
Far too often I hear ‘sit, sit, sit, SIT!’ In my training classes.
In a futile attempt to get the dog to sit.
But poochie just won’t sit.
And I get asked why he’s not listening.
Dogs don’t speak English
Or any language of their beloved person.
So if they don’t sit the first time.
There’s probably a reason why.
He doesn’t know the cue.
Dogs learn cues by association.
Just like babies.
They learn that word = behaviour = reward.
But before that is chained together, the dog needs to be doing the behaviour first.
And it might take many tries before your dog learns that the word = behaviour.
Too much distraction
Don’t expect your dog to go from amazing sits in the living room, to sits at a dog show.
There’s just too much going on.
And if your dog has not practised distractions, then there should be no expectation that he can do this.
This is where training comes in.
Train for the moment, not in the moment.
What if he doesn’t obey?
If he’s not listening, then don’t repeat the command.
Do something else for a minute.
Then try again, but help him out a little more.
If it’s a safety issue.
Like he is running across a road.
Then use any means possible to get him back.
Try not to use the cue, but do what you have to.
You might need to change your recall cue if it has been poisoned and he’s not listening.
And next time, test to see if he’s listening before letting him off lead.
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