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Miscellaneous words

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Other animals

I like to teach my dog that other living creatures have sounds associated with them. Now I don't mean, "What sound does a cow make?" but rather "See that animal? Cow. Cow."

  • Most people have squirrels and birds in their yard.
  • Some people see deer, skunks, or snakes.
  • Maybe you keep chickens or ducks, or even koi in a garden pond.
  • Your kids might have a pet bunny or ferret.
  • Horses or goats might graze across the road.

Animal words are taught just like any other object – by presenting your dog with both the sound and (immediately) the object. Remember when we talked about the French language speaker who taught you that the sound pom  means apple simply by repeating the sound and holding up an apple?

Other pets

If you do have other dogs or cats, you should teach your dog the names of those pets.

How is that useful?

  • When you need to correct one pet, using his name will reassure the others that they need not worry – that they're not the one in trouble!
  • Also, when giving treats or meals, using each dog's name as you offer the food cautions the others to wait their turn.
  • Finally, if your dog has also learned "Find it," he may be able to search for a named pet.

    "Luke, where's Kelly? Find Kelly!" Now, most likely Kelly is simply snoring under the bed covers and won't appreciate it when Luke jumps on her. But if she really was trapped somewhere... if she had, say, fallen down a well, Luke might find her.

    Well, it's possible, isn't it? When you and your heroic dog appear on the 6 o'clock news, I hope you'll mention my training program!

An unexpected word that I use all the time: "Hey"

I doubt that you will find this word in other training books. Nevertheless, it's a common word used by experienced dog trainers with our own dogs in our own homes.

"Hey!" is a general warning word that essentially means, "Hey!"

Seriously, that's what it means. I use it in my multi-dog household when I want to put one or more dogs on notice that I'm monitoring their (potentially iffy) behavior right now.

For example, if my dogs are playing in the yard and it's beginning to get a little rough or loud, but I can't tell who the culprit is, or maybe they're all doing it, I might say, "Hey!" in a short, clipped tone. I might accompany it with a sharp hand clap. I want all the dogs stop what they're doing and look at me, at which time I usually follow up with "Easy!"

"Hey!" is sometimes used under similar circumstances as "Leave it." But the former is better when you just want to interrupt your dog(s) and get their attention, while the latter might be better when you already know you want your dog to come away from what he's doing.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

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