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Tips to Giving Commands

Communicating with our beloved furry companions can sometimes be challenging. How can we educate a species that doesn't comprehend our language?

One way to bridge this communication gap is through patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. By using clear, simple commands coupled with gestures or cues, we can help our pets understand what we are trying to convey. Additionally, observing their body language and reactions can provide valuable insights into their thoughts and feelings. Building a strong bond based on trust and understanding is key to effective communication with our four-legged friends. Remember, it's not just about teaching them our language, but also about learning to understand and respect their unique ways of communicating with us. Learn to communicate with your dog like a pro with the following tips.

  • Encourage new behaviors through free-shaping and rewarding, fostering a natural inclination towards the desired actions.

  • Prioritize free-shaping or luring with hand signals over verbal commands until your dog consistently performs the behavior or responds to gestures without food present.

  • Keep commands brief, as canines respond best to one-syllable words, avoiding lengthy conversations when giving instructions.

  • Canines listen to tone more than the command. There is a command tone, Praise tone, and correction tone. Don’t say your commands in a praise tone as they will think they are being praised therefore they will ignore the actual command.

  • Avoid using a correction tone for commands, as it might discourage your dog from following instructions.

  • Do not ask questions, “Can you sit?” Their answer will most likely be no.

  • Capture your dog's attention before issuing commands, as lack of engagement may result in non-compliance.

  • Utilize various methods such as verbal cues, hand signals, body language, and leash or e-collar pressure to communicate effectively with your dog, adapting to their state of mind for better understanding.

  • Maintain an upright and confident body posture to assert leadership over playfulness, ensuring your dog sees you as a leader rather than a playmate to enhance compliance with commands.

  • Avoid giving commands in a frustrated tone during training, as it can be a challenging process. If your dog is having difficulty and you feel yourself losing patience, give them a short break in their crate or designated place before trying again promptly. Reflect on how you can adjust your expectations and simplify the task to make it more manageable for them.

  • Deep breathing can help maintain a sense of calm for both you and your dog, especially when things aren't going smoothly and frustration sets in. Deep breaths slow down various bodily functions like heart rate and brain activity. Practicing deep breathing can signal to your dog that you are composed, leading to a calmer response from them.

  • Deep breathing offers multiple benefits such as reducing blood pressure and heart rate, decreasing stress hormone levels in the body, boosting the immune system, enhancing physical energy, and promoting a sense of tranquility. So if your stressed, fake it till ya make it with deep breathing.

  • Only give your commands once! Repetition like "Sit, sit, sit, sit, sit" to a dog sounds different from a single "sit". Repeating a command multiple times with minimal responses teaches your dog to ignore you. If you need to repeat a command, ensure you are in the right position, using hand signals, and sounding assertive before issuing it again.

  • Implement the "command sandwich" technique: Give the command, if there is no response, say "no", take a step forward, apply a hand signal or leash pressure, and then repeat the command. For example, say "sit", wait a moment, say "No", step forward, and repeat "sit" while reinforcing the command with body pressure, hand signal, or leash guidance.

  • Know when NOT to give a command. There are times and places when a dog may be overarousal or in a fearful state of mind where giving commands can be more harmful than helpful. For example, when walking past another dog av and you have your dog stop and sit to avoid them from pulling. Though this can be helpful, for many dogs this would create more frustration as now they have to sit still and watch their trigger getting closer. It this moment it may be better to keep moving.

Now that you know many of my tricks to giving commands effectively, go practise and have fun with your pup!

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