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I am an amateur trainer and just got my second dog…which made me, once again, question some of the commands that I use. Having begun my training “career” without much more knowledge than a gut instinct, I created my own commands (mostly short phrases). Since that time, I have immersed myself in books, videos and the advise of fellow members of the local retriever club and realized that my commands are somewhat unorthodox. Getting the new pup made me wonder if I should consider using new commands that are more “mainstream”. I doubt I will do it, (unless someone can convince me otherwise) since I have become so accustomed to my own commands and they have been successful. Having two sets of commands for two different dogs may be more than my little brain could handle.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to get some opinions on commands in general, and the words we associate with them. For instance, my “kennel” command is “in the crate” or “in the truck” or “in the boat”. My “drop” command is “give”.

The one I am really curious about is the retrieve command. I send my dog on “go get it”. The fetch command is “get it”. The idea of sending a dog using his name has never made sense to me. To me, the dog should come in or look at me when I command their name. Sending them away on their name seems counter-intuitive. Obviously, it is helpful when you have multiple dogs, as each dog has its own retrieve command. “Back” is another one…I use the typical handling commands, but using “back” for a blind seems strange to me as well. For a blind, I preface the retrieve command with a stern “dead bird” and the dog seems to understand that it is time to trust me…he is after something that he didn’t see fall.

Anyone one see any major problems in what I am doing?
 

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I am reluctant to post my opinion as I am only a well versed amateur also, but I do suspect there are problems, not in your "crate, truck, boat or even give" command, but in your terms you use for marks and fetch. Many trainers do say "dead bird" before a they run a blind. Most trainers do not use "phrases" unless picking up gun stations or lining their dog for a blind, but these are not phrases they use to release or command, they are simply HELPERS ("right there") ("look long"). I will let the more educated go into greater detail.

Or I could be wrong all together :cry:
 

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My ?drop? command is ?give?.
This is the same as mine so I can't poor mouth that choice.

For Kennel I use "Hop In"

For cues, "Way out," and "Easy." I don't think I use any others. My commands are pretty standard after that. If you are happy with your choices I think it'd be OK to stick with them.

"No," and "Go," are to close for my liking but if it works no problem. Also I think the shorter the command the better. I don't think I could DRIVE with the command, "Go get it," but some people think the command for retrieving a mark is a release and no driving is necessary. That BTW is not my opinion. I want a name I can DRIVE.

You'll have to take a ration of :p , every now and then but if your dog can do the work who's going to have the last laugh
 

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mojo,

My only suggestion to go mainstream would be that it makes alot easier for OTHERS, if the time comes for you to send the dog to a pro, sell it, have your buddy run him, etc....
 
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mojosmantra said:
(snip) The idea of sending a dog using his name has never made sense to me. To me, the dog should come in or look at me when I command their name.(snip)
Sending a dog on his name isn't a command, it's a release. You're releasing the dog to work independently... So it's a different thought process than "commanding" the dog to do something (at least from the dog's point of view).

In general, we (by we, I mean the people I train with) use their names as attention getters. So, for example, when we have a group of dogs at a gate or door getting ready to come through, we make them wait and say their names one at a time and that's their "release" to proceed through the door or gate. It's not a command per se.

As far as the idea that the dog would come in on its name... That seems counter-intuitive, too... Since you have a here or come or whatever command for that particular behavior.

Really, it doesn't matter which words you use as long as the dog understands what you want. You could use the same word for every behavior you want your dog to perform, but preface it with different body language and the dog would understand.

So just do whatever works for you as long as you do it consistently.

The only thing that I wonder about is the difference between "get it" and "go get it" along with the use of "phrases" versus single words. I would prefer to use mutually exclusive words for different behaviors. But dogs pretty much only listen to the first portion of what you're saying anyway when it comes down to it.

Finally, some words are more easily verbalized, emphasized or de-emphasized. So long phrases can be hard to put a punch with... I find you can put more punch with "here" than with "come" when you need some punch. Same thing with "back". So moderate to strong inflections in voice and tone can more easily be accomplished with some words than others, and with single words more easily than phrases, to add to the communication between you and your dog.

Take care.

-Kristie
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Howard,

I completely agree on the "no" and "go" being too similar. I actually tried to change "go get it" to "go" and then quickly realized that would be a big problem...you should have seen the look in her eyes. The "go get it" is a little embarassing when it comes to running tests...but it works. Maybe I will change that one command for the new pup...that way the other dog may have an easier time of honoring.
 

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Katie,

Thanks for shedding light on the name "release"...as opposed to a command. That makes a hell of alot of sense. My dog definitely hears "get it" as a command, but now I wonder if, in her mind, "go get it" is a release or a command.

Also, I agree with the "here" vs. "come". I changed to "here" on the advise of another trainer some time ago...and before "come" was to embedded in her head.
 

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I use the standard commands on my dawg (first one). Here, Sit, Heel, Kennel, Drop. But when it became time to start forcing to a pile, my dawg had a big problem with leaving my side on the word Back. This is due to the fact that his entire early life, when he ran to the door, as we were leaving we would tell him "Back" to move away from the door. So when I said Back, he would take about 2 steps backward. I send my dawg on the word/words, "get it". Now, I do use Back and Over when I stop to handle, which he never seemed to mind. I have no problem driving him with the command "Get it" and can bark it out pretty sternly. My dawg has done fine with it..........but on my next dawg I will use "Back" and use "Move" to tell him/her to get away from the frickin door. It is just easier, since I have training partners that can and do run my dawg for me from time to time to help me through problems that I am having.

Just my .02

Adios, Travis
 

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I use all the common commands, back, here, over, etc, but have used "get" as a marked release command instead of her name as I feel for a house/family dog it makes for less confuson. I'm not sure if you want to try condensing "go get it" for "get", but it works good for me and you can drive the word, aswell it's not used alot in daily conversation.
 

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I know a couple of handlers who use "gee" and "haw" for left or right when they are handling on a blind. Kinda makes sense cause it gives the dog another cue to direction besides just an arm extended with an "over" which they may or may not see depending on conditions. Back is still back but for release they use "fire" and instead of "dead bird" they use "load".
Anyone else seen this?
 

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The words used are unimportant. Chinese dogs are not sent on "Back". Dogs in Spain or Mexico are not sent on "Back". Just be consistant with your "words".

As Chris K. pointed out, it can be a little confusing if you need to run your Buddy's dog or vice versa.

Jerry
 

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Not to be negative here people, but as another trainer here on the RTF said, 'you can tell them the way it's supposed to work, but they'll do it the way they want to anyways'.
Any of the successful trainers, trialers, whether HT or FT stick with the basic commands. So take a cue....use what works...why try to invent the wheel?

Nazdrowie.................. :drinking:
 

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Since Spanish has been brought up

You can use any words you want as long as you are always consistant. I use for kennel, up in or on, "Monta" (to mount, as stepping up). Dead Bird is, "Muerto" (as in dead). Since I am bi-lingual my dog should be, too.

Oh, I forgot; as a release for a mark, I say "Ya!", (as in - you're not there yet?, like this instant, enough of this already).
 

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I agree with Kristie on using the dog's name for "release" ( or at least a term that is unique to that dog) there are too many situations in the field, at a test or trial, or even around the house or kennel where you just want one dog to do something in particular.
 

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Speaking from my own experience and others I have seen, I think there is a tendency for new trainers to want to make their commands their own by using something different than mainstream. Its their dog, and they want the commands to be theirs as well. Been there, done that.

I have also learned over time that it's not a very good idea. Yes, it doesn't matter to the dog what words you use as long as you are consistant and they are distinguishable, but as others have said there is tremendous value in staying with common command usage.

Often as the newbie progresses, they start training with others. There are many benefits in having others handle your dog and for that reason I would say stick with what's most common.
 
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