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When To Use Commands Outside Of Training

July 31st, 2007, 12:26 PM
as some of you know we are trianing Mister to bark and hush. he quite readily barks... has been for a few days now (we practice in the morning and in the evening) and i *think* he has hush down. we are currently working like this-

i say BARK! loudy (snap my fist neat my hip... not a noticeable movement but he catches it)


i say bark quietly (wiggle my fingers at my hip in the fist, i dont know yet if he knows that means a quiet bark yet.)


i say bark bark bark quickly (each bark command i move my fist at my side)

*bark bark bark*

i say BARK hush bark bark hush (bark fist, flat hand, bark fist X2, flat hand)

*bark pause (waiting for next bark command) bark bark and a pause until i tell him good dog and give him a treat*

if i say barkbarkbarkbark he just barks his head off. (dont do it often, no hand signal, my way of getting him to bark A LOT without a command so i can tell him to hush in the middle of it)

now i can tell him to bark at ANY time and he will on command. he has barked at a few things and i have either ignored him (ie barking to be let inside instead of ringing the bell) or made MY appropriate response (such as checked the front door, yelled at the squirrels in my garden or splatted the offending invading bug)

BUT i havent used the hush in a real situation. if he hasnt gone through a successful hush enough and it doesnt work when he is barking at the wrong time, is that reinforcing a bad hush??

for example, i had company over this morning (my only girlfriend in the whole world and her daughter who is my sons age) and when she left to go back home Mister sat at the gate barking at us. i hesitated to tell him to hush because i wasnt sure of he would listen nor really what to do if he did. i didnt have any treats on me (my oops) if by chance he DID hush and wasnt sure if it would undo our hush training if he just kept barking through my hush's.

what i DID do was after he stopped barking i told him "good hush" but could only give vocal praise because he was at the door to get inside.