Ever wonder why your dog doesn’t do what you ask?
Could be that it’s the way you’re asking. Cues (not commands) are a vital component of solid dog training. Often, understanding just a bit about cues and cueing can take your dog’s behavior from so-so to outstanding.
First, what is a cue, exactly?
Good question! A cue is technically anything the dog can perceive — it can be a word, a noise, a movement, a smell. You name it: if the dog can notice it, it can be a cue.
Anybody have a dog whose dog goes a little bonkers when they see the suitcase come out of the closet? Yep, that’s a cue! The dog has associated an action (your leaving) with the suitcase.
A cue can be a word or a phrase.
In our house “Who wants a biscuit?” means: walk with me to the pantry, you’re about to get a goodie.
Cues are the way we ask a dog to do something.
Cues exist in our own life, too.
A green traffic light is a cue, for example. It means “you can move forward now.” A red light is a cue, too: “stop!”
When dogs don’t listen to us, we sometimes blame the dog.
He’s stubborn. He’s hard headed. He just doesn’t listen. But what if — just maybe — we were part of the problem? <Gasp!>
Maybe you say “C’mere” sometimes, but other times you say “Come!” Or maybe someone else says “C’mon!” And the dog is somehow supposed to know that all those different words mean “move to me as quickly and directly as possible?” No way!
Back to our traffic light example: what if the traffic light showed a green light and a yellow light at the same time? What the heck does that mean?! Who knows! Everyone would probably interpret that a little differently: go, stop, go slowly, go but look both ways, etc. See how confusing that would be?
That’s how easy it is to confuse our own dogs.
We’re just scratching the surface with our Dog Training 101 series.
We just published Dog Training 301, so keep your eyes peeled for more. By the end of our series, you’ll be at the top of the dog training class!