Small dog at park

I hear this so often “my dog won’t obey my commands”. Change your mindset and you will change your relationship with your dog. Start by changing your command to cues. Let’s just look at the two definitions. Think about how each one makes you feel.

Cue: A sign or a thing said that works as a signal.

Command: An order in an authoritative tone. (is that do it or else?)

So, how do you call your dog when he is running away from you? Most people yell the command “come!” and expect their dog to come back. Would you come back if someone was shouting commands at you? But, if you teach your dog that the cue “come” means good things are going to happen upon their return, you will have a dog that will be happy to come to you because you are fun to be around. It’s easy and effective because dogs do more of what they are rewarded for. When you discuss how well-trained your dog is, you can boast about the tricks they know. You shout their name and your furball comes running.

Kudos on having such a good dog!

However, if you are using commands, they might not be working in the same manner as you thought? A command implies that if your dog doesn’t act fast, there will be consequences. While a cue is a request, which tells your dog that if they comply, they will be rewarded for their effort. The choice is ultimately left to them.

This is why it’s so important that you use force-free training techniques to instruct your dog. Wouldn’t you rather cue your dog than command them?

Understanding Cue vs. Command

Imagine this scenario:

You and your dog are out on a walk. You take them to the park and spend your time playing tug-of-war and Frisbee. After a few minutes, your dog bounds over to another dog, and they start a friendly wrestle, while you sit on a bench and watch.

When it’s time to go, you shout your dog’s name, but they don’t budge. You walk over to them and say their name once again, but they ignore you. The third time, you jerk their collar and say their name angrily. Your dog turns their head towards you and then after faltering, starts walking, but only because you have not given them a choice.

Let’s take another approach:

When it’s time to go, you call your dog. Your dog is having fun with his friend, but because you have reinforced your dog coming when called he eagerly comes running over to you. Because you are always fun and never intimidating your dog loves to come to you.  

Instead of jerking their collar, you say, “Let’s go” and start walking away. As soon as you turn your back and start walking, your dog happily follows you.

If you haven’t guessed yet, the first situation involved giving a command and the second wasgiving a cue. Force-free training methods build their trust in you.

The dictionary defines cue as a noun. It is something that excites the recipient and gives them a choice to take action or not. This is far better than a command that instills fear and makes your dog anxious.

So, you can safely conclude that your dog will grow up to be a better and more loyal dog if you train them with love and kindness, not force and fear. For dog training in Miami, visit the website Dances with Dogs. They offer in-person as well as online dog training. To know more about their services or to schedule an appointment, call on 786-299-1552.