Favorite “Non-Traditional Cues,” Part II

Polly in Tree 10-12

Wow. You all are amazing. So far there have been 165 answers to the question posed two weeks ago, "What's Your Favorite Non-Traditional Cue?" I've read through every one of them with great interest (and often amusement). My plan was to go through all the comments, list every cue mentioned with it definition (some people included as many as 7 or 8), and see if I could  find some patterns. Several hours later, and less than a fifth through all the cues mentioned, I suspected that a smart person might want to modify the plan. So that's what I've done, whether either out of laziness or wisdom, I couldn't tell you. I'm using the list I've generated so far as a sample, and have re-read all the rest of the comments that have been so thoughtfully provided. Here's what I'm seeing so far: Read More

What’s Your Favorite “Non-Traditional” Cue?

Sheep by Road 9-12

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the cue "Get Back," which is one of my favorites because it is so useful in so many contexts. Katie Martz, Communications Coordinator here at PMcC, video taped Willie getting back in a variety of contexts, and we noticed that every time I said "Get Back" in a context in which he'd rather not, he tongue flicked. That led to a very interesting discussion with readers about why he was tongue flicking, but distracted us from the reason we did the taping: the usefulness of "non-traditional" cues in dog training. Yes, we all need Come, and Sit and Stay; I can't imagine what I would do without them. But there are a variety of cues that are equally useful, but not as common or well known. I thought it would be fun to canvass readers to learn about their favorite Read More

You can teach an old dog new tricks, The Diane Rehm Show

Here's a question for you, based on a column I'm writing for The Bark magazine. The editors asked if I'd write a column about "training old dogs." (The column on training male versus female dogs will be in the next issue... stay tuned!). The question: how does your training vary (or does it?) once your dog becomes geriatric? I've started the column already: "Lassie doesn't sit anymore, at least, not when asked." I'm basing this introduction on the fact that about six months ago, my 15 year old Lassie looked at me blankly when I asked her to sit. She's going deaf, so I thought perhaps she didn't hear me. I gave her our usual visual signal. Nothing. Then I lured her down with a piece of food. She looked up at my eyes and stared at me. And rather than trying any longer, I thought: "Oh, I Read More

Visual Signals before Acoustic?

"Puppy nerd" asked a great question in his or her comment: Given how visual dogs are, should one start an exercise with visual signals to help the dog get it right, and then switch to acoustic ones, or avoid visual signals altogether if you want your dog to pay attention to your voice?  Well, this could keep us all busy for the next few months. I know this is a loaded issue, with people strongly advocating one or the other (mostly the latter in my experience.) There's no 'right' answer, at least not in my opinion.  But then, I'm not a big advocate for there being one way to train. There are many roads, as they say, to the top of the mountain. I think what's most important is to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of starting with visual signals.  The first obvious advantage is Read More