What’s in your dog’s repertoire? We all know the standard cues we use with our dogs–Sit, Stay, Lie Down, Come. (Some of our dogs actually do too.) But cruising through old blogs led me to this post from 2012 about “non-traditional” cues that some of us use. I was gobsmacked at how many responses it got (182), and also motivated to think about what cues I still use most often.
I do indeed ask my dogs to sit, lie down and come when called often, but much more often I ask the dogs to Wait, (One of the commenters called it a ‘Soft Stay”. Love that.), Get Back (are you listening Mr Willie?), Enough (several folks use All Done) and Settle Down, which means please go somewhere else and chill out. Also Hup for jump, Go Around, Enough, Here (sloppy heel).
There are so many other great ideas in the comments linked above, including a “big truck back up beep” for Get Back, Shake Off, Do You Wanna?, Ready?, Touch, Watch, Move Over or Excuse Me and my absolute favorite, Whoops, when a dog makes a mistake. I forgot about “whoops” until now, but love how saying it sounds so happy and forgiving. I’m going to add that to my repertoire.
What about you? What cues do you use the most? What are the most novel?
Here’s another question for you–if you only had three words you could say to your dog, what would you choose? Without much thought, I’d pick 1) their name, 2) Good! as reinforcement, and 3) Wait. (I use clapping as a recall, and can imagine using hand signals for most of the other cues. Wait I use all the time when they are not looking at me.) You?
MEANWHILE, back on the farm. The biggest news is that I am indeed back on the farm, after a brief, but whirlwind speaking tour that included four talks in three days. I left home last week exhausted from a crisis at the farm regarding some nasty remodeling complications, but came home full of energy and inspiration from all the wonderful things going on in Wisconsin.
First off, I spoke at UW River Falls, and had the pleasure of meeting some rock star women who are doing amazing things. Dr. Beth Rausch created River Fall’s Companion Animal Program, a world class program that includes five different courses related to companion animals, and the ADEPT program in which students can intern with an assistance dog program and act as raisers as trainers of dogs-in-training. Here are some of the students and dogs. (The dogs get to live with the students and vice versa. Wow.)
I got to meet some of the students and their dogs, along with Linda Ball, the Executive Director of the assistance dog program, Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs. She recently took her sweet, stable and love-sponge dog to Mongolia to introduce the concept of assistance dogs. Some stories there for sure! Here is Linda and her dear, dear dog whose name I can’t remember.
This part of my trip was thanks to Dr. Kathleen Hunzer, Professor of English and Director of the Honors Program, who was my host and an absolute inspiration about how many wonderful things can be done by women determined to do good things in the world. My hat is off to all three of them.
The next day I was immersed in the Chippewa Valley Book Festival, which was equally inspiring in the sense that in I felt bathed in brilliant writing and the people who love reading it. Friday night’s talk and reading was from Tessa Fontaine, the author of The Electric Woman. The entire audience was so riveted by her memoir (she ran away to a side show and ate fire, as a way of dealing with her mother’s stroke) that you could hear a pin drop while she was speaking. Grateful thanks to my host Amy Alpine and Pam Gardow, Librarian at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. Pam arranged for me to speak to several high school classes about The Education of Will, which was a wonderful experience.
And here are the dogs I took with me when I traveled. I was feeling a bit, uh, needy, so I brought the two dogs who travel the best. Please don’t hesitate to laugh out loud or shake your head with eyes rolling. Doesn’t matter to me, whatever works, right?
Our dog is cued to “T-Rex” to sit on her haunches and raise her front legs. Our physical cue for it – she responds very well to visuals – is to sort of curl our hands up close to our chest like we’re imitating a T-Rex. It’s her favorite trick – she often offers it when she’s excited – and it’s a great one to show people that she is smart and well-trained. People always love it.
My best friend’s cue for her dog to back up is “moonwalk.” I’ve always loved that.
I loved this topic the first time, too. Because I live without a fence in a redwood forest full of wildlife and slippery ravines, I take my dogs out on longlines to accomplish their daily functions. My recently departed Sheltie/mini-Aussie was a comic, keen little personality who understood that if she pooped, she was sometimes signaling me to take her back indoors. One evening when I was in a hurry, she postponed sooo long (“just sniffing out suitability: over here, no, over there, maybe beyond, oops, back might be better”) that I stamped my foot in frustration. She immediately pooped, and that’s all it took for a footstamp to accidentally become her cue for instant performance ever after.
Mine know “Busy, busy, boring” means they are going to have to settle down while I get on with human stuff. “Snuggle and a zizz” has them dashing upstairs for a rare siesta with me. One beloved fellow dog walker, who can be relied on to provide a treat each, is known to them as “Do you think it might be?”, after years of me saying it while squinting at him in the distance.
Just three? That’s difficult. Their names, of course; Wait for safety; and perhaps With Me, which can cover Come, Walk BesideMe, Leave and many other things.
I definitely use “back off” (mostly to get Robin to take a step back and stop trying to sneakily steal food (his leave it is… subpar because it’s never been a priority for me)) and “up-up-up” the most. “Up-up-up” is what I say when I’m getting up out of my chair to tell the cats to get the heck off me, but Robin will jump up out of a dead sleep so he can follow me to wherever I’m going.
Joke’s on him, I’m usually just going to the bathroom before I return to being a lump. He could’ve stayed resting his old bones and not missed a thing.
“Step on my dress” for the dog(s) to slap their paw on my foot; completely useless but makes me laugh every time (plus, dogs can’t stomp their feet in exasperation that I know of, so when they’re frustrated with me this is the cue they get).
Also, for a short bridge stimulus “Yip!” and for a longer one — needed when they see a nemesis, yet manage to look away — “Yaaaaaaay!”
Kay East says
Same first two as yours: “Name,” “Good” and “Wait.” I’m proud of my consistent command work in their early years, continuing onto tricks training which gives me another very useful command and tied with third, “Pretty” for their haunch sitting. Agree with Amanda, a real people pleaser and a distraction for the dogs when I need their attention in some sutuations.
Regina R Allen DVM says
3 verbal cues … hmmm ….
1) Yes! (verbal marker for when I don’t have a clicker handy)
2) OK (release cue)
3) Here! (sloppy recall, so to speak, with no front required)
My dogs offer enough sits and downs, plus several are trained to hand cues, so I can live without those. I don’t want to encourage a “self release,” thus the “OK.” I don’t think I could live without a recall, since I live in a rural area with deer, bunnies, etc., and it’s nice to be able to call them off before a chase begins. I can also use the release cue to free them after a nice recall after the stimulus is out of sight, so they know the fun doesn’t end.
My youngest (Doberman) also started showing a strong interest in passing cars, to the point of wanting to chase them, so I conditioned him to come when we hear a car in the distance and reward liberally until it has passed. We also play “Look at That” with the passing car, so I use the “Yes!” as a marker. I’m proud to have used positive reinforcement to prevent the bad and potentially fatal habit of chasing cars (No shock collar required!). 🙂
We live in a suburban area so there is a lot of dog-walking in busy neighborhoods around other dogs, people, cars, bicycles, skateboards, etc. so we are always crossing the street to be on the safe side. I’ve taught my dogs “cross”, which makes the transitions a lot smoother! We also use “get ready” to get into heel position, “step up” to step onto an object, “jump up” if it’s more than a step, and “let’s go” to get moving. Since I have a reactive dog, I rely on “look” as my lifesaver when cueing his name isn’t quite enough to get his attention as well as “wait.” What do people use to cue a stand? I’ve been using “up” and it works just fine but doesn’t seem too precise. Thanks for the conversation!
Adrienne K. says
This was a great post. I know we all think our dogs are the smartest but I have had a number of dog’s through the years and Zasu is at the top of the list. She knows all the regular words; sit, come, stay, down, leave it. But I am most proud of her peeing on command when I say “Zasu be a good girl, quick, quick, quick. She never fails. She also understands my pointing at something and saying “over there” which cues her to look at something I want her to see. Every night she gets a couple of before bed treats. She understand treat time is over when my husband puts up his two hands, palms out. No words necessary; she then walks away. I am so proud of my girl. BTW she is a moyen poodle.
“Wait” and “Leave It” are two staples I wouldn’t want to live without, but “Stay Behind” (I also use a hand signal of my right arm up) is my personal, must have. We spend a lot of time on trails on the woods and “stay behind” is what I use when we are approaching a road, unknown areas or any time I may need to have a little more control over a situation. I’ve never had a dog not learn this quickly perhaps because it is so important in our daily routine.
Peggy L. says
I hate to admit this but it is humorous. An inadvertent cue developed with my dogs – when I start cleaning the house, they go to the window anticipating company…………
I use “this way” when in the woods which means head in my general direction as opposed to “come” and sit in front of me.
I loved Amanda’s comment about how her “T-Rex” cue causes her dog to to sit on her haunches and raise her front legs. Our cue for that is ‘Squirrel”. It never fails to make me smile and the kids at our library where my dogs are involved with their read with dogs program, absolutely love it.
Konnichiwa – cue to bow
How do you do? – to shake hands
I’m going to vacuum – use her dog door and go outside
Meet me by the truck – go out and and wait by gate
Sing a few bars – does this garbled howling thing while I sing
Say good-bye – Barks twice. (two syllables)
Do you love me? – cue to speak (bark once)
Want to teach her to shake her head slowly back and forth when I then ask, “Do you love Daddy?” But so far, I still have to lure it.
:>) Still gets a laugh, tho
3 only? Come. Leave it & Yes
Thanks for such a great topic! Where to start… In addition to the usual Sit, Down, Come, Stay, etc., I’ve done lots of clicker training & shaping behaviors with my dog. He loves the clicker sessions and is so quick to pick up on prop cues that he starts throwing out behaviors before I’m ready! Hand up fingers spread where he can see it – or “Stop” – when we hear a car approaching. fist with index finger out and bouncing up & down – or “Beep-Beep” – when I need him to go in reverse. “Stickers” for goat heads, sandspurs, cactus spines, etc., and “Sticker Check” for me to remove said, and also run hands over body & legs to check for ticks. “Ants” for the vicious fire ants we have in the southern US, highly reinforced randomly when we see an active mound. Jazz hands – or “That’s All” – when food opportunities are over. I use “Get Busy” to encourage him to eliminate, with “That’s Far Enough” meaning you don’t have to go to the middle of the neighbor’s yard to poop, right where you are is fine. My dog doesn’t like having his feet handled for a Shake but will do High-Fives and Low-Fives all day long. Then I shaped those into hand targeting “Patty Cake” and finally into elbows bent, fists extended to sides with index and middle finger extended – or “Stick Em Up” and my dog sits pretty, extends front paws with toes spread & waves them around!
My 3 words would be: his name, Good Boy, and Leave It.
I think one of the most useful and creative cues I’ve taught my dog is the doorbell. He hears the doorbell ring and runs to his bed to happily await a Kong, treats or to be released to our visitors. It’s extremely helpful with not jumping, not barking, bringing down his energy level in general, and allowing our guests to enter our home, set down anything they were carrying, and then great the dog if they would like. He also know “bang!” for play dead, “feed the dog” which he picked up on by me asking my other half to do so and at least 20 other verbals used in our agility training. My favorite of which is “start” which means sit in between my legs at the starting line. If he’s feeling goofy, sometimes he does this backwards!
Alice R. says
Mmmmm, only three? Mine are similar to yours for similar reasons: name, yes!, and wait. I could give up wait for “I’ll be back” if that counts as a command because we do have a good hand signal for wait. My cues that are different include “grass” (go off the sidewalk onto the grass so people can pass), and”who’s a brave dog?” (both a trick and a useful cue around loose dogs or over enthusiastic children) where he moves around to sit behind me peeking through my legs.
Hilary Ellis says
Non-standard cues include “fix it” for lift a foot to help me untangle your leash from between your legs and “this side” for go around the obstacle in the same side I do. Three most common words spoken to dogs also name, good and wait.
Three words, that’s tough. We do a series of tricks and find-its after breakfast and dinner, and I’ve done them without speaking just for kicks, so I think we could get used to wordless tricks and games. My dogs spend a lot of time staring at me waiting for the next bone to drop. So casual conversation isn’t really a must. I guess then it would be for those instances when timing really counts. Saying Olive in a high/low sing/song voice gets her to turn on a dime when a normal spoken Olive doesn’t have any effect. Then “Wait,” is our go-to word; and I guess I’d keep “No!” for those emergencies. Or may “Loveyou,” one word said fast 🙂
We regularly use settle, back, two paws, nothin’ to do with you, okay, don’t even think about it, here, easy, and out.
Jann Becker says
One of the most frequent cues around here is “Climb.” It means, “jump up on the light-colored leather couch or matching chair”…dog people will get this, the guy who cleaned the leather, not so much. “Wait” translates to “If you bowl me over going through this doorway there will be hell to pay,” and the most frequent use of “Crate” is, “It is nowhere near time for dinner and you don’t get to nudge me with your head from now till then!”
Okay, this is my absolute favorite so far! We all have inadvertent cues–I realized that I always put my hands together before saying “sit” years ago, which of course became their sit signal. But I absolutely adore that Peggy and I share the “company clean up” behavior. I’m sure it’s just us and no one else…
I am another whose dogs know to expect visitors when I start cleaning. They also expect their share of nibbles when they hear the pop of a prosecco cork – the only banging noise that they look forward to!
Kathryn Butterfield says
I use “ not yours”… for leave that alone which is different than LEAVE IT for the really horrid stuff…also “Podium” for paws up on something I point to …I use “ people first” at doorways if she gets impatient… but I agree that wait is the best request known to a dog owner… so many applications… it’s gentle and my dog can easily translate it to different experiences which is priceless… like… I’m getting my muttens back on in winter after I needed fingers… well, you get it…. our dogs are sooo smart!
What a lovely post and comments! I smiled all the way through. (I have been listening to some podcasts where the owners are all involved in dog sport like IPA/IPO etc and very gung ho and “blokey) so this was more my style.
Had to smile at all the cues and commands. My two little mini poodle and bichpoo love:
Paws up (I stick my forearm out and they go up on their haunches and stick their paws on my arm or any other object.)
Party is our release cue
To Me gets them between my legs looking up at me (like those rough tough working dogs)
Side/Close (for left and right sides, it’s a work in progress)
And I love that you took those two well behaved dogs and owned it too!!
Give (to stop with the tug toy)
“Treat-Treat” is one of my dogs’ recall cue. And she is flawless on it.
I use Beep, which is move out of my way. Figure it out when the dog the leash is caught on something and the dog needs to back track to untangle it. Step back, when the leash is caught behind a leg. Dry to shake off when wet. These days Ranger wears a help ’em up harness and knows the cues hold on which means he should wait until I get there to help him up and suitcase which means I’m going to take hold of both handles on the harness and help him into or out of the car. Suit up for putting on harnesses, back packs, collars, etc. and unpack for taking it off. With me or with her/him depending on who the dog should be taking cues from. Wanna go to work which is Ranger’s favorite cue in the world as it means he’ll be going on a Therapy Dog visit. Working, which means he can’t visit that person working in their yard or wherever. Finna has a number of recall cues each of which means something different. Here is for her to come from behind me between my legs, Come is from in front of me through my legs and around to a heel position, front come and sit in front of me and her favorite On which is run as fast as you can and put your nose in my hand.
Three cues for Ranger his name, bestest boyo, and stop. Everything else can be done with hand signals but stop for when he’s out of reach and needs to wait for me. Three cues for Finna her name, check it out, and On. Check it out means to notice that thing that will freak you out if you don’t know it is there then look at me for rewards. Both the dogs will wait on a hand signal and both know Finished as a hand signal.
OT OT OT…a warning that the dog is doing something wrong, going towards road or in someones garden, she always stops and looks, I didn’t even know I did this until a neighbor asked “what kind of command is ot? Pronounced liked “rot” without the R. My three words: sit, stay, down.
A non-traditional cue we use a surprising amount and has been really helpful is ‘Friendly dog’. This is a way we tell our dogs we’re about to handle them in an unusual way (check a sore spot, handle their tail, lift a lip and otherwise do something gentle but invasive) and that it’s their job to wait and stay calm. We initially did this at home with heavy rewards, but it’s now just a great anytime cue to use in a pinch to give our dogs information and help them stay calm when we’re in the field and say need to pull a thorn out of a paw or help an emergency vet give an injection.
Another is ‘who’s silly!?’ which is basically a way to say, game on let’s play! This is usually enough to initiate a zoomy or two and is mostly used for pure fun. However it also doubles as a way to diffuse the tension when dog to dog relations are dipping into a more dodgy territory.
Jenny Haskins says
For my dogs I’d probably opt for “I LOVE YOU”. Cues can all be done with signs/signals.
Though on thinking, I’d drop the “I” and use each dog’s name. My dogs are very,very good at interpreting the meaning of their own name when said with different inflexions. (You wouldn’t make us stick to robotic speech would you?)
Jenny Haskins says
PS.. I love your travelling companion dogs 🙂
I use “back” to get my pupper to back up, “watch me”, “up” to jump up onto thing or into the car, “off” to jump down off things. We have cues to tell the dog to go upstairs or downstairs in the house so he goes first and doesn’t take out anyone’s knees, but I don’t think he knows the verbal cue so much as the hand gesture. We wipe his feet when he comes in for walks so I added the cue “paw” for before I grab one of his paws to wipe it off. He also knows “shake” to give a front paw to shake hands, “touch” to touch his nose to a offered target hand, and “dance” to jump up and put his front paws on my hands. I rode horses for years so I more or less taught him to respond to the leash like reins in western style riding, with an accompanying “ease up” to get him to stop “lets go” as a loose leash walking command and I make clicking noises if I am using the leash to send him to the right or left. Now that I write that out I realize he knows rather a lot of commands.
My favorite is “Game Over”. I came up with it when our Border Collie was around 1 year old. We play a game of indoor fetch and she is relentless, wanting to play forever. I’d had more than enough one evening and out of desperation said “Game Over” and gave her a small treat. It worked right away and took permanent hold very quickly. Now she willing stops any game with that command, trots over for the treat (will also stop without the treat), and happily ceases the activity – her reaction is my job is done and seems very satisfied with herself. A bit of a life saver.
I use “Toe” for when I dropped something on the ground that Jake can have, to indicate to him that he should look where my right foot is. We use “Poke” instead of touch for a nose-to-open-hand, “Monkey” for sit up with his front paws around my forearm, and
Also i use a quick pat instead of a release word from heel.
I use “wait” frequently, too. Crossing roads, opening doors, etc.
“Let’s go” – You have sniffed that spot long enough, I need to get to work. This was not intentional training, the dogs just figured out my pattern.
“Who is it?” – Cue for fluffy dog to stop barking under the bed and come out for a treat or elaborate praise. After which we shut the bedroom door … this was an excellent suggestion from a trainer.
Ellen H says
In my house, “Toes!” means, “you better back up or this opening door is going to pinch your feet!”
Others on the list include; “Hold on” so he can prepare for turns/stops/starts in the car, “This way” as a general path correction towards me, and “Hurry up” to please either pee on it or stop sniffing and move on.
My top three vocal cues would have to me his name, wait, SuchaGoodBoy!
Barb Stanek says
I have used the cue “Mine” to mean “drop it.” It was easier to teach the dog to drop whatever when he heard “mine” than to teach my 70 year old (who aged to 90 something) dad “drop it.” If the dog had the remote, its toy, its bone, a stick, my dad would get the object from the dog by saying something like, “You can’t have this. It’s mine.” Then my dad would clutch the object that my dog wanted desperately and launch into a soliloquy similar to “You know you can’t have this. It’s mine. I love this. It’s mine. This is the best toy in the world and it’s mine.” As long as my dad’s side of the conversation included “mine” periodically, none of my dogs would try to take the coveted object from him. Problem of the dog jumping on my dad and knocking him over solved.
i love everyone’s creativity! i use “kitchen is closed” to indicate he should exit my tiny tiny kitchen to go to his “digestion chair.” “boh-boh” is ‘kiss’ in korean so when i say that he offers his nose for me to kiss (he never kisses me though) :o(
the three words we use the most are “yes” as a positive marker, “wait,” and “leave it” because, well, he’s half retriever and would love to eat everything he finds at the park or on the street—he has ‘existential hunger!’ kekeke
What a fun post and awesome comments.
Since only 3 ‘words’ are allowed here my picks:
1. his name
2. ‘come here’ (recall)
3. ‘leave it’
For many other often used cues I taught him hand signs.
Most novel cues:
1. ‘go search’ (the scent)
2. ‘go get it’ (get a toy)
3. ‘shut’ (the open door or drawer)
I just realized that as I teach my dog new cues I have become sloppy with hand signals. For pretty much all the very basics I have a hand signal. But for the new stuff, I don’t. Why is that, I wonder? I should focus more on the hand signals…
I’m not laughing at your travel dogs because I just bought myself a rainbow octopus -reversible.
Debby Gray says
My cue was inadvertent at first. Monty will mug me for treats. He knows he is supposed to sit or lie down to get one. However he often nose punches me when I am lying on the bed watching TV to demand a treat. Just because it was rude, I said without thinking “uh oh”. Monty immediately sat down and I gave him a treat. After a couple more “uh ohs”in other contexts I realized that any time he is given a command he knows well like “sit” “down” “stay” and he doesn’t follow through, an “uh oh” will produce the desired result.
I say “tick check” after we go for a walk and Sparky will back up to me if he’s standing or roll over on his back if he’s down. We started saying “chuck him in the tub” before a bath and it gets him all amped up so now I can actually use that to get him to come to me (even if we’re not home).
Having 2 Golden Retrievers and a small kitchen I have taught them to “Go in your corner” so they are out of the way but can still be in the kitchen with me. Griff is quite food motivated and always accompanies me to the kitchen, Sonny is more interested in watching the Fatties(aka squirrels) & chipmunks so he does not always follow. When Sonny hears “Go in your corner” followed by “Good dog” from the kitchen he immediately appears and sits on the rug in front of Griff, who is on his bed in the corner, because he knows a reward/treat usually follows “good dog” and he doesn’t want to miss out! 🙂
Rainbow octopus? You made my day.
Chris from Boise says
I’ve been thinking about “what three words” all week. After an hour downtown today practicing public manners, then a six-mile hike in the last of our Indian Summer weather (November is supposed to arrive tomorrow, despite the calendar), these are ours: Obi, wait, good!
Lots of great non-traditional cues here and in the original post. The only one I can think of that hasn’t already been mentioned is Limbo, which cues what physical therapists call a commando crawl. We ask Obi to perform this under a chair (or a series of chairs, as an online friend has taught us).
Georgia Conrad says
I adopted a deaf/sight impaired puppy from a kill shelter several years ago. He could not see much, but at best guess, saw some shadows, and movements if he was close to me–so he learned hand signals. This made me realize that ALL dogs should know verbal as well as visual cues since so many of our furbabies lose their hearing as they age. So all my dogs know some hand signals as well as word cues now.
I was just thinking about my dear old pup that we had to put down last month. Not the smartest dog in the world, but he was sweet and reliable, and he learned a lot over his 9 1/2 years with us. The commands used most frequently were Wait, Come On (follow me), and Go On (go ahead of me). I don’t think I could pick only three words to say to him now that he is gone, except perhaps “Good boy, Euclid.” I do know his 3 favorite words were probably Walk (or any of the code words we came up with and he always figured out), Treat (bone, snack, dinner, etc.), and Clean Up, which meant there was food on the floor he was allowed to gobble up. Can you tell my dear old boy was food-motivated? Hahaha!
We are bringing a new puppy home next weekend and will be starting all over with training. I’m ready to have a dog around again, but I know it will also make me miss the old, comfortable relationship we had developed with our last dog. I guess that’s how it goes, though.
Nancy Kraft says
“Too early” with a whine in my voice. I have a lab who was starved as a young dog. At about 4 AM he starts wondering if, even after 5 years, I may forget his breakfast. Some mornings he decides its best to wake me as a gentle reminder. Did I mention he is a lab? “Too early” was my natural, half awake response the first time and surprise he returned to bed and fell asleep. It works every time and now works as “go back to what you were doing, food is a ways off” any time of the day. Probably has more to do with voice tone and not looking at him but I’ll take it.
“Is there poop in the dog?” is my second sophisticated command that works for pooping on command. When he hears it he knows time is very short before I leave for the morning and he best make good use of his time. Usually there are results in seconds.
Can you tell I am not a professional trainer?
As our 14-yr old beagle-mix Luke loses his hearing, our commands have changed. My favorite used to be “clean up, aisle 4” which meant come here and look where I am pointing with my toe to find the food I dropped. This has become (STOMP STOMP toe tap) in the room he is in, then he follows me to the clean up area.
We used to sing “waaaaaaaaaaalkies” which has been replaced by (STOMP STOMP tilt head towards door). Incredibly effective!
We frequently walk in the Land Trust behind our neighborhood, and when he wandered too far off trail on a sniffin mission he learned that if I said “Don’t make me come get you” that meant I really would (I only had to twice) so that was his most reliable recall. That has morphed into “OY”, probably because he couldn’t hear the words, but the OY as I stepped off the path was loud/shrill enough for him to hear. We also use (CLAP CLAP) as an attention getter when we are in the yard. He looks at us and usually follows whatever head/hand gestures we give him. Unless he is feeling really naughty, in which case he trots towards the woods path or the neighbor’s house even faster. I swear I can see the thought bubble: “I can’t heeeaaarrr yooouuu”. Then comes my OY, which usually is followed by him thinking “drats, foiled again” and coming back.
So, the three words I can still use are 1. his name said in a high, sharp-but-fun tone, 2. OY and 3. ‘gooood-doooog’ said so close to his head that he can feel the vibrations.
Loving OY, as much as Whoops!
Is there poop in the dog? What would I do without the laughs I get from comments like this!
Such fun..gotta come back and read them all…but I have to attend to dinner! I have “restaurant manners”. We treat from the table (sorry) but only if they have restaurant manners meaning they are laying down and not begging. Also “they’re working” which is used on walks when he wants to approach people, but I can tell they don’t want him to…or they really are working!
Paige Junge says
I accidently taught my foster dog, Ollie, to wait his turn. He was trying to push ahead of my dog, Ramona, in the tub to get his drink from the faucet (they’re weird, don’t like bowls). I put my hand on his chest and said, “Ollie, wait your turn”. He sat down, and about 2 seconds later Ramona was done, so told him “ok!” and he drank his water.
Now, no matter what’s happening, if he’s being pushy, I say, “Ollie wait your turn” and he plops his butt on the ground and waits until I release him!
I’m so mad at myself for missing this great post! Cecil knows a bunch of cues but my words for them aren’t nearly as exciting or brilliant as Cecil himself. The only one I’m truly proud of is his “jump on me” queue: “Hop on Pop”.
I have found a really exaggerated “Ick”(scrunchy face and all) or “Ew ick ” works a million times better than “leave it” ever did. I am talking about dead pelicans and fish on the beach and chicken bones and french fries on the road. After a good sniff my lab mix walks away without rolling on the dead things and gobbling up food stuff. I also use Wait rather than Stay. I have really been focusing on tone and I find that it can really affect how well any cue works. My three: name, wait, ick. Now I might change selections, if I can find the magic recall word that makes my guy come to my side even when he really thinks he cannot ignore that squirrel, rabbit, or bird any longer. He will do really well for a while then off he goes. Ugh!
Bettina Schaden says
Our dog knows “Too Spicy” which means “Stop begging for my human food and let me eat in peace.” It came about because a friend’s dog stole something spicy and got sick, so they started to use that with her and since they hang out together a lot, my dog learned it too.