Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New Ebook
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Creating a Release Word
For some obedience commands, we'll want to teach the dog to hold a position or stay in one place until we say it's okay to move – or example, the "Sit-Stay" command. For these commands to work properly, we need to teach a release word. This is the word that lets the dog know the command is finished with.
It doesn't really matter what word you use here, as long as it's not too similar to another command word you want to use. "OK" is fine as a release word. When your dog is displaying the behavior you want (staying in one place, for example), just say "OK" and then walk off like you're not interested. Do this a few times and she'll begin to understand the meaning. We'll talk more about this when we discuss teaching the "Stay" command.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with training is giving treats at the wrong time. You want to give the treat as soon as possible after the dog displays the behavior you're trying to teach. So when you're teaching "Sit," you should be saying your marker word and feeding the treat immediately AFTER her behind hits the ground.
This is crucial for letting her know what behavior she's being rewarded for. If you give the treat too soon, she may think she's being reward for standing up and will associate the word "Sit" with the action of standing. Likewise, if you give the treat too late and she's starting to get back up from her sitting position, she'll associate the word "Sit" with getting up. Make sure you have the treat in your hand ready to go and hand it over as soon as she does what you want her to do.
Next time: How Long Should Training Sessions Be?
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