The Five Most Common Words in Dog Training and Which Ones I Never Use #52

There are five words commonly used when 
training a dog and I'd bet while you're   sitting, listening to this, you can 
think of what those five words are.   Spoiler alert. I'm going to give them 
to you right now. Sit, down, stay,   come, and okay. Five most commonly used 
words when training a dog. One of these words   I would never ever use when I'm training my dog. 
I'm going to tell you which one and why I'm also   going to share with you the five categories 
I believe dogs put all words we use into.

Hi, I'm Susan Garrett. Welcome to Shaped by Dog. 
If you are watching this podcast on YouTube,   go ahead and hit the like button now and by doing 
so you're showing trust in me that you know I'm   going to deliver some inspiring dog training 
information. Hitting that like button is so easy,   like I think a 15-week-old puppy can do it.   And if you aren't watching this on YouTube, you 
might want to after at some point when it's safe,   like not if you're driving your car because 
I just showed the cutest little video clip.

And in that video clip, there is a prop, and I 
will put the prop in the link, the show notes and   I am going to give away a box of these. It's 
a prop that I use to train my puppy recently.   And I want to give a box away to anybody who 
puts a comment on this video will be in a draw   at the end of this week. Well, in seven days 
time, we will have a draw for somebody. I'm   going to send you a box and not only am I going 
to send you a box of these props, I'm going to   give you access to a little video clip showing 
you how I trained the behavior you just saw. Okay. If you're listening to this 
podcast, jump over to YouTube   because you will, you'll just 
want to see that behavior.   Five categories I believe that dogs put all the 
words they use into.

Now, I'm going to preface   this by saying, this is my hallucination because 
none of us know what our dogs are thinking. Those five categories are number one, words that 
I respond to. Think about— and words I respond to,   no matter what, regardless. Now think of how big 
that category would bring for you. How many words   does your dog know that they will respond 
to without fail? No matter where you are,   they will respond to it. Like 
maybe cookie. I don't know.   Number two, I think my dogs have hundreds of 
words. Now some are situational. So, if we are   near agility equipment and I say the word jump, 
like they're going to jump.

They love to do it,   but they're not going to jump in the house 
when there's no jump obvious. Okay. I digress. That's first category. Category is words our dogs 
will always respond to. Sit and down are two of   the five cues that I use routinely pretty much 
daily that I know my dogs will always respond to.   The next group of words for our dog’s 
categorization, words we will ignore. Now   all of our dogs have words that they'll 
ignore because when we're having a   conversation with somebody, our dogs, 
“No, that's not important, it's not me.” The challenge is there are words 
that get put in this category,   inadvertently.

More on that in a second. We don't 
want our dogs to ignore any important words. So,   we don't want words to go from respond to 
always into just ignore them. Sometimes   the word “come” is poison, and the dogs learn, 
“I don't really have to respond to that one.” So, they get put into conversation. The next 
is words that could be confusing for the dog   or they're unsure of. And again, words that 
should be in category number one end up here.   And it is a lot of the times 
because of the way we use them.   So, think of, first thing comes to mind is George 
Foreman, the former heavyweight boxing champion. He named all of his boys George. Wouldn’t you 
think that would get confusing at some point? And   that they will learn not to listen to that word. 
In the house, let's say maybe with my friends   and you could also put somebody 
who names their puppy, This!.   Because that word gets used a lot. It 
could be confusing. We’re not talking   about that right now. We're talking about 
George Foreman.

Let's get back on this. So, there are words that create confusion 
because of how we may use them at one point   versus another. The fourth category for 
our dogs are words that make them happy.   So obviously, you know the words that are going 
to make your dog wag their tail and put their   ears up and get them all happy. You know, “Good 
dog.” “How good are you?” “Who's a good dog.”   You know, I tell my dogs I love them all the time 
and that, and they wag their tail. And let's face   it we don't know what our dogs are understanding, 
but science has proven they understand tones.   The tone we choose to use tells way more 
to a dog than the actual words that we use. The last category of words are words that 
make that dog afraid or stressed, unhappy,   however you would like to call it. Those are 
obviously words that what we say emotionally.   If you are angry, if you are, “What did you 
do?!” Or phrases or words that are followed up by   you going all spider monkey on them, 
right. That they learn to, “Uh-oh,   that's a trigger that something bad is going 
to happen.” Let's hope that that category is   almost near zero.

That really, we don't want our 
dogs ever to be afraid of us. So, words like,   “Ah-ah!” “No!” “Hey! What are you 
doing?!” Those sorts of things. My dogs actually, they don't even respond to. 
They, “What are you doing, you’re clearing your   throat?” “What's going on there?” So those are 
the five categories of words. And if you are   using a word in dog training, you would hope 
that they’ll all go into category number one.   Sit and down for me, go into category number one. One of the five most popular words, the word stay,   I just choose not to use because I find it 
redundant. If I asked my dog to sit, there isn't   automatic time expiration on that. Like 
that doesn't mean sit for five seconds   and then you can walk away. Sit means sit 
there until I give you a release word. So, the word stay is redundant. Quite 
often, people combine those words,   and they take a word that could be something that 
the dog would respond to and they put it into a   word that's confusing when they say things 
like “sit down”. People come into my house,   if my dogs are jumping on them, which you know, 
it does happen.

They'll say to my dog, “sit down”.   Really do you want them to sit 
or would you like them to down?   Because you've just magically said, I want you 
to do both at one time. That's not possible. So, you take cues and they become 
confusing. Words they should know,   and you slip them into a category that 
is confusing. So, the word stay to me   is redundant. I choose not to use it. So now 
we're down to the four words. You know I used to—   you know, I find one redundant, there's 
two more. The next word is the word come.   I think it's a great word and I used to train my 
dogs to come to the word come only in emergency. So, I train it and train it and train it. I train 
it every day and I would never use it unless it   was life-threatening because I wanted something 
that I could pull out that they would go,   “Five alarm! I’m coming.” Like there is no 
question. It's a lifesaver. That's a special word.   I just happened to not use it.

I actually use a 
whistle and you know I'm not going to do my ‘super   loud stadium’, ‘my football team is winning 
whistle’, but you know, like this so that my   dogs understand means, when I say whistled 
to them, that's the same as the word come. So, I don't use the word come. I have no problem 
with people who use it as long as you use it and   your dogs always respond to it. The last word 
process of elimination, the word okay. Is a word   I would never use. Never. Because it falls into 
the category you want it to be a word to us that   they respond to, but it becomes a word to 
either ignore or be confused or unsure of.

pexels photo 5749819

How does that work? Because we say that word so 
often. Just like the word this, sometimes was   confusing to my puppy. So, most of the time I call 
her by the nickname, by which by the way George   Foreman did with his children. He gave them all 
nicknames and he never really called any of them   George. So, most of the time I'll call her Thiser. 
She understands This! when she it's just her and   I, but she's learned to ignore it when I say it 
in conversation, because we say that word a lot. So, my best advice to everybody is to select 
words for cues that the dog doesn't hear very   often and are very specifically mean one thing. 
For example, in the sport of agility, my dogs have   microseconds to respond to a verbal cue because 
they're going so fast.

And so, most of my cues   I've changed from words to sounds because dogs 
can respond to sounds. And they don't hear   those things like one of 
my cues is “lalalalalala”.   They know what that means in the agility field. 
And it's not something I ever use in conversation. All right. So, the word okay is 
just used way too often. And for me,   it came to a head when I used to use that 
word. And why do we use it? It's tradition. That's what everybody taught way back at the turn 
of time when we started training dogs and has   been handed on down and nobody's given it a second 
thought. Why do I use the word okay? I was taught   that. It's been taught for hundreds of years that 

But let's do things intentionally with our   dogs. And if you're sitting there saying, “Oh, I 
already taught the word okay.” Don't worry. I'm   going to share with you how you can simply change 
it. I'll teach that at the end of this today. And so, I was with my first three dogs, I 
would take them for walks and if it was muddy,   I'd have them all hang out 
on a mat by the front door.   And I would go up and I did a lot of work 
from home and I would work from home and   when an hour or so would go by and I'd figured 
they were dry, I would say, “Okay, come on up.” The challenge happened when if I'd get on the 
phone and I'd start out laughing, “Hahaha! Okay!”   And then all these dirty dogs would 
run up the stairs and I'd be like,   “What the H-E- double hockey 
sticks are you doing?”   And I'd realize, “Oh, I was talking to my 
friend and suddenly I did say, okay.” So,   if you then get mad because they released, 
well, that's just a really poor release word.

One of the most common words 
that you use in everyday life,   you want to have a very specific meaning to 
your dog. Just, it really is a poor choice   of words to use in dog training. So, I changed 
almost instantly when I had that realization.   I changed all of my dog’s release words to the 
word break. It's a word I don't use very often.

You can pick any word and the tone makes 
a difference. So, I've had heard people   say “re-lease”. And that's not a tone you 
normally talk in unless you are an auctioneer   or a five-gate horse trainer.   I don't know, some of them, no, maybe 
not. “Walk on.” I don't know. So, you   pick a word or a tone that 
means something different. So, I have friends that use the word “free”.   Which means you're free now to move.

Which sounds 
like a great word, it makes sense to you. But   if you are one of my online students or thinking 
about being one of my online students at any point   in the future, I strongly encourage you do not use 
the word free. Because every one of our programs,   one of our foundation games is the 1 2 3 game. 
And we play it all different sorts of ways.   I might say “one, two, three, get it.” I 
might say “one, two, three, three, three”,   to see if they're really listening for the word, 
get it or break. It depends on what I'm playing.   So, if your word is free, you're asking your dog 
to differentiate between one, two, three, free.   A little unfair. So, I don't recommend that word. Break is the one 
that I use. And again, I recommend you pick a word   that isn't commonly used. Now let's talk about 
changing things up. So, you get some clarity   to your dogs. And when you have clarity, the 
words coming out of your mouth are no longer   like Charlie Brown's teacher, “Wah, 
wah, wah”.

The words have meaning,   and your dogs will respond to them because 
they're only used in certain situations. All right. We're going to ask your dog to 
sit. They know what the word okay means.   You're going to ask your dog to sit and then 
you're going to say the word break, which means   nothing to them. But you're going to follow that 
up with the word okay and you're going to then   reward them. So, “sit”, you can move around if 
you want to, you know, do a little bit of a hold   position until I release you game. And then you're 
going to say “break”.

And they shouldn't move   if they're really good at their sit, understanding 
of sit. Then say the word “okay” and reward them. Move to a new location, practice it again. After 
doing this, so I would say do it five times at   once and then don't do it at all. Right. That's 
it. We're going to do it again in maybe an hour or   two hours. And whenever you think about it, you're 
on your way from the TV to the refrigerator.   Of course, only to get a juice infused water, 
nothing else. And do it a couple of times there. What happens, dogs are brilliant. They 
are programmed to predict what's going   to happen next. They are brilliant at picking up 
patterns of reinforcement. And so, they will learn   that break is a predictor of the word okay.

depending on how well you've taught the word okay,   it might take several sessions. It might take 
two or three. It might take a week of this. So, my first dogs I had trained the word okay 
pretty well, so it took a little bit to get them   convinced I really did mean that you can move 
on the word break. But they will figure it out.   And then you don't, you just drop 
saying the word okay once you've   got them moving out of position on the word break. Tan-ta-na! You now have a brand-new cue 
that is meaningful, that you're moving   your release word from the category of possibly 
confusion, unsure or worse yet just ignore it   to the category of this is something I 
respond to.

Not just once, but every time. And that's how we get a 
brand-new effective cue. Now,   remember if you're watching this on YouTube or 
if you're listening, jump on over to YouTube   because you could win the prize. Seven 
days, I'm going to give away this prize.   Not only the prop I use, but I will give you 
instructions on how to train your dog to use it. Leave me a comment on this video. Be sure to 
like, be sure to subscribe because I've got some   really cool new videos that I plan on releasing 
here on my YouTube channel that will help bring   clarity to some of the things that I'm teaching 
on the podcast. You won't want to miss it. Subscribe to the channel, 
hit the notification button   and I'll see you next time on Shaped by Dog.

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