Ten tips for ultimate retriever training – Tip #3

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Continuing with our theme of ten tips for ultimate retriever training, today’s tip is:

Tip #3: Keep commands simple and clear

I am a big fan of less is more when it comes to giving commands to your dog. I avoid adding additional words which do nothing to clarify the command for the dog. Commands like “come here” and “sit down” or “sit stay” are just a few examples where I feel things can get muddy very quickly.

Keeping commands simple and clear helps your dog understand what you are trying to say. I have seen it become a habit for owners to negotiate with their dog to perform a command. They add so many words it often sounds like they are trying to convince a toddler that the treat will come if they only will behave.

Keeping commands short and concise makes them clearer to the dog. And always be consistent in the commands. For instance, if you use COME for your dog to come to you, always use COME, don’t sometimes use HERE.

When dogs graduate from one of our programs at Otter Tail Kennels, I not only go over with the owner all the dog has learned, I also give them a piece of paper with all the commands the dog has learned and is expected to obey. Many owners are shocked at how few, yet encompassing the commands are.

The goal is to simplify communication so both you and your retriever know what is expected.

Now I just need to learn how to communicate with my wife.

Until next time, happy retrieving.

Steve Smith