Most folks are well aware that dogs do not understand most of the blah-blah-blah that comes from our human mouths. Yet, when we say treat, walk or car ride, it appears our dog had full understanding of exactly what was said. Why do dogs learn some words and not others?
The simple answer is some words are paired frequently enough acting as a tip-off that predicts good things for dogs. We have, in most cases, full control over the good things in life for dogs. We decide when they get a tasty treat, a walk or a dog park adventure. If these things were the highlights of your day, you would likely pay close attention to what signals they are about to begin too. We also have things we do or say that act as tip-offs for the not so good stuff. Dogs can rely on us to know if we are headed to the vet or the groomer, which many dogs are not big fans.
Our dogs watch our every move. Why? In many cases, we are their best predictors of good or bad things about to happen. With awareness of this little fact, you can harness the power of it. Consistency is the key!
If you would like your dog to learn a particular word and what it predicts, you will want to make certain it happens first. Not just the first word that comes from your mouth though. It needs to also come before any body movements that may also act as a tip-off.
For instance, you put on those same shoes every time prior to going for a walk. As you reach for those sneakers, your dog begins twirling and dancing with great joy. Those shoes going on your feet have become the tip-off for going on a walk. Or maybe your tip-off is going towards the location of the leash. You want your dog to learn the word “walk”? Simply say “walk” before you put on the shoes or make your first steps towards the location of that leash.
The first tip-off carries the most power when delivered consistently. You would like to teach your dog a new word? Deliver that word “before” anything else that may act as that tip-off for what is about to come.
Would you like to learn more about gaining clear communication with your dog? DogSense Unleashed provides In Home Dog Training in Minnesota.