Which Words Should You Use For Your Commands


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Hey, it’s Tenielle here from Dog Matters and today we’re going to talk about whether or not it is mean to tell our dogs what to do. Because a client asked me recently whether it was mean or cruel to be telling her dog what to do and making the dog do what we ask.

So there’s a couple of different reasons that it’s important that our dogs do do as we say and have some rules and boundaries around the house and out of the house. So one of these reasons is safety and that’s one of the most obvious reasons, so coming when called is probably the best example for that. If your dog doesn’t know how to come when called reliably then you are likely to get into trouble when you take them out and they are distracted by something, running towards it, they could be running towards a road, or trouble with another dog, or a person, or something like that, you need them to reliably stop and come when called.

When I’m talking about dogs doing what we say around the house, this is also important in our day to day lives, not just for safety but also for your dog’s well being and mental health. This is because dogs like to know what the routine is, who’s in charge and what’s going on. A dog that knows obedience commands is easier to control in general and this doesn’t mean that we’re controlling them like a robot, or that they are unhappy.

It just means that we have some control and balance in day to day life around the house and ability to stop them from doing things such as jumping on other people, or pacing up and down the house. So telling them what to do and having them know commands can even stop them and prevent them from being anxious. For example, if I had a dog that was pacing up and down, or staring at the window, it’s going to be a lot healthier for that dog to be told to get on their place and stay and relax there, because they except that they have to stay there, rather than to allow them to keep pacing and building on that anxiety.

Chester, so if Chester was pacing around the house right now. Place! I can tell him to go to place and he can happily get on there. He’s not upset or feeling like I’m being cruel or mean to him because I’ve told him to go to his place. Good boy. And he’ll stay there until he’s told to get off as well and that’s important, it just helps at structure and retain to your dog’s life and knowing their place actually makes dogs happier.

This is where training comes in, of course your dog needs to know how to do the task before you tell them what to do. Dogs don’t come out of the box knowing how to go to place, that’s taking some work to train the dog how to do it first but once they know it, you can use it for lots of different things around your home and out of the home. It’s also important to know that training is ongoing, because your dog is always learning from you in the situation whether you think that you are training them or not. And if you are not training them, they will be training you, so make sure that you always have some form of control when you need it by teaching obedience, commands reliably before you expect your dog to automatically behave for you in any given situation.

Remember dogs don’t generalize automatically, if you switch environment or add in distractions, it takes more training to proof them with their task. So don’t be afraid to tell your dog what to do and make sure they’ve had some basic training, so that they can listen when you need it.

I’m Tenielle from Dog Matters and I’ll see you in the next video.




  1. Monica Vandenberg

    Great video Tenille, have issue with drop. ie, Meika creeps forward (casual)
    I am going to try another command for the more formal drop like you used in German.
    I will use dutch 🙂

  2. Cheramie

    In today’s video you talk about “no”. How do you teach a new puppy what “no” or “leave it” means?

    • Tenille Williams

      Each word only means what you pair it with. “Leave it,” is meant to be a trained command to stop going for that thing and pay attention to the handler. “No,” can vary from an interruption like leave it to a punisher word that means something aversive is coming. It all depends on what the handler teaches it to mean.


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