March 2nd, 2006, 07:49 AM
I am in the process of training my dogs and was wondering how to teach a release word. I've been using 'okay' - which some trainers say is fine and others say to use another word. My main question is what should I do if my dog moves before I give the release word. Do I put him back in whatever position he was in (i.e. Sit/Stay, Down)? It think part of my problem is that both my dogs are pretty low to the ground :) so sometimes I have to bend over or squat down to get them to do something when i teach them something new and then as soon as they do it I raise up and they think they are done and move out of that position. So I've inadvertently taught them that me raising up is their "release command." Any suggestions or experiences with this problem would be great....Thanks!
March 2nd, 2006, 09:23 AM
Hi there. My trianer told me to use a release word that we don't use every day. She's seen cases where a dog is put into a sit/stay (for example) while the owner chats with a friend. While chatting, the owner inadvertently uses the release work (like "okay") and the dog thinks he's been released. So she told us to use things like "ketchup" or "giggle". Something in a language that you don't speak often works really well. It's really just supposed to be a sound that's associated with the release action.
To answer your other question, yes, every time they move before being released, you have to put them back into position and then release them. To minimize the "stooping & standing" thing, you can use their leash to help you. For example, when teaching "down", you stand on their leash with one foot while holding the end in your hand. Give the "down" command, and if they don't comply, you gently pull on the leash so that it's sliding under your foot, and their collar is being brought down to your foot's level. A little pressure should give them the idea and they should go down on their own after that.
Mind you, if they're not at the level where they're responding to verbal commands/hand signals (ie. you're still having to physically put them in a "sit"), maybe you should be stepping back in their training and put off the "stay/release word" training for now.
Hope this helps! :)
March 2nd, 2006, 09:47 AM
I use a variety of release words...my main one is okay but I think, if I could start over I would choose a different word...I have been transitioning to use the word "break" as a release.
When teaching a release word, say "break" and toss a treat to the side or in front - your dog should catch on pretty quick.
The previous poster gave you good advice!
If they are small enough, you can try using a stool, bench or table so you are working on the same level at first. Or you can just sit on the ground and work with your dog from there - until they will hold a stay for extended periods of time - then go back to standing up. I would definately have them on-leash at this point so you can keep them focused and correct them if need be!
March 2nd, 2006, 10:14 AM
The words themselves don't matter - it is more about your attitiude and energy. You can say 'pizza' for your word they don't care.
Just put them back in place if they break. Try to create the action without touching them. They have learned that mom touches us to make us do something - but they didn't really choose it on their own. Teach the stay too. So when you say 'sit' then your follow up with 'stay' so that they learn patience.
When you release them use happy energy in your tone and body language so they can feel the difference. Be firmer in your tone when you say stay. They need to hear the difference.
March 2nd, 2006, 03:21 PM
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the advice...your replies made things a lot clearer to me. Now i just have to put it into practice...:thumbs up