Considerations About Training Commands

One important factor to keep in mind is watching what names you give to your commands. You think it may be funny that some trainers teach their dogs commands in German and that some use some unusual names, but there is often a reason about this. I discovered this the hard way, here is my experience.

Since both my Rottweilers Petra and Kaiser always used to greet guests a bit too enthusiastically, as they grew bigger and older, we thought we had to curb this enthusiasm a notch because not everybody ultimately loves Rottweilers, and most of all, some people may feel a little bit intimidated by being greeted by two large dogs at once. So we decided to teach them a solid ”stay’’. This command worked pretty well and when we were living in Italy guests were amazed at how well behaved they were in staying in their spot, even though we knew they were dying to come say hello. After the guests reported to actually like dogs and our dogs appeared calmer, we would tell them “Come!’’ and they would initiate their greeting ritual which was a big party of licking and wriggling butts.

Once we were back to the States, something must have happened, as they both were more and more frequently breaking their stays. The moment the guest was invited in they got up from their stays and came to greet. Of course, we were upset about this and needed to do some troubleshooting. Perhaps it was due to the fact that we recently moved and they were not generalizing their commands well? We knew that upon moving dogs at times require some settling and may engage in some testing behaviors. Or perhaps was the house too small, and with the guest being so close they felt they had the need to go greet? We found out it was none of those when hubby and I tried to recreate the whole scene. It took a careful analysis to figure out exactly what was going on.

So hubby played the role of the guest and went outside. I put the dogs in their stay, this time at a farther distance than usual, just in case lack of space was what was causing them to break their stay. Hubby knocked on the door, I went to open .Hubby made a funny voice replicating a female guest. I said ‘’Well hello!  How are you?’’ and then after chatting a bit I said ‘’Come on in!’’ Right upon inviting this silly guest inside, both my Rottweilers got up and came to greet enthusiastically.

It took a bit of thinking and a close analysis but we figured exactly what was causing the the issue: Upon saying ‘’Come on in!’’ my dogs were only hearing the word  ”come’ so they were actually obeying a command rather than breaking one! You really have to do some thinking with this smart breed!

Same seems to go on with owners who like to use the word ”Ok’’ to release their dogs from a sit or lay down. They may be training in class. when the the instructor gives them a piece of advice and the client says ”Ok!’’ and in a second there comes their dog!

Another common scenario is the dog owner who uses the word ”down” interchangeably for different scenarios. He may say ”down” to have the dog lay down and then may say down as well , to tell a dog to get off the couch or to stop jumping~! How confusing is that?

So, yes, it does make sense to use to some extent some unusual words, such as those you do not typically use in a conversation. Some people instead of saying ”Ok”, prefer to use the herding command ”That’ll do’’. No many people indeed will say ”that’ll do” in their daily conversations! Other options are German words such as the famous and effective word ”Platz!’’