August 04, 2010
Say Less. Get Your Dog to Listen More.
By David DiBenedetto
One of the many things I’ve learned from professional dog trainers is the use of fewer commands to get more done. Call it command economy. Here’s an example:
For most amateur retriever trainers, Sit means Sit but does not mean Stay. We use the Stay command to keep our dog sitting. But think about it: If you teach your dog to sit he should keep his rump on the ground until you tell him it’s okay to move. It makes perfect sense. Why fool with Stay? (Some of you bird doggers might want to chime in about the use of Whoa.)
The same goes with the Fetch command. For decades Fetch and Hold were used in the force-fetch training process. These days most trainers just say Fetch. It means pick up the object and hold it until I command Drop. (That’s Pritch working on her Fetch in the photo here.)
I’m curious if any of you have noticed this trend or are already working with fewer commands? If not, give it a try. Eliminating a few commands may make it easier on you and your dog.