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Give your dog a single command

I make the mistake of giving my mutt a command more than once. For example, I tell him to sit more than once if he doesn’t do it right away. It’s usually something like, “Sit…SIT!”

And then he sits. What I am doing is training him to sit on the second (or third) command, which is not what I want him to do.

Dogs learn from repetition, so if they are used to hearing a command two or three times, they will actually be conditioned to sit after that third command. Instead of giving your dog the option, put her in a sit position after you say it the first time.

Dogs that are given the same command over and over will learn to ignore the command or think it is optional. I never let my mutt get away with not sitting or lying down when I tell him. I hear people say, “My dog is stubborn,” or “She just doesn’t get it.” More likely, the dog has learned it’s OK not to listen.

You can train your dog to respond quicker by not giving her too much time to respond once she knows a command.

For example, when I tell Ace “down,” he has gotten into the habit of slowly scooting to the down position, leaving his butt up for a second, stretching and then lying down. He does this every time because I have allowed it.

To break him of this, I am going to put him in the down position right after I say it. It’s better to have a dog that reacts quickly, and they can easily be conditioned to do so.

Try doing quick training sessions where you roll off five or six commands very quickly.

Your dog will have a great time, and it will teach her to listen closely and react quickly. Act like your dog has just won you a million dollars every time she does the commands right and you will have a quick, obedient dog. Just don’t go over them in the same order every time or your dog will be conditioned to always do them in the same order.

Related article: Why I don’t repeat commands to my dog.


Sunday 6th of July 2008

I love doing this with Zeus.. when he gets really excited over a treat that I am with holding he will start running through his cashe of tricks (with out me giving commands) hoping I will give him the treat.

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Cynthia Blue

Saturday 5th of July 2008

LOL... errr, I have to admit I double command. Well, triple or quadruple sometimes! My obedience instructor is always on me about it. Just once, she says! As I rattle off 'come come come' or jabber on like a maniac! lol

Cynthia Blue's last blog post..Feeding Lucy Upright

Mayra Calvani

Saturday 5th of July 2008

Thanks for this important tip! I'm guilty of this mistake very often. Also for other commands like 'Come'. Mayra

Mayra Calvani's last blog post..Interview with Kamilla Reid, author of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus

Apryl DeLancey

Friday 4th of July 2008

I know this one all too really is vital to teach one at a time though.

Apryl DeLancey's last blog post..Tales From The Inbox - July 3, 2008