Mind Your P’s & Q’s! Part 2 - When & How to Use Verbal Commands

By AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer Breanne Long

This is Part 2 of a three-part series on using verbal cues/commands correctly. You may be surprised to learn that the verbal cue is not important when you first start training a new behavior.

Choosing your cue words, or commands, can be just as important as the training process itself.

Think carefully about the words you'll use to cue your dog for certain behaviors.

Some basic behaviors, like sit, down, and stay, are obvious and make sense to use. However, other behaviors, like bow or sit pretty, should be given different names.

Bow sounds very similar to down, so as not to confuse your dog, try using the word 'play' or 'take a bow', emphasizing the word 'take.'

Sit and sit pretty start the same way so try 'say please' or simply 'pretty' instead. If you think your dog is deliberately not performing the action for which you are asking, make sure similar sounding cues aren't confusing her!

The AKC GoodDog! Helpline is a seven-day-a-week telephone training service staffed by experienced dog trainers: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org

The Five Commands Every Dog Should Know

Do you want a well behaved dog but don't know where to begin? The Basic five commands e-book is a great place to start and will give your dog a strong foundation for future training.