My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

Use the tabs above for quick navigation. I have imbedded links for as much as possible so that you can find the resources easily from this blog. The links in the side bar are for websites that have been helpful to me. I hope that you find them useful for you and your canine "family member"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Choosing the right command: "Drop" vs. "Give"

When it comes to teaching your dog the command words you will live with every day it's important to consider the situations that you will use the words for.

As many of you have experienced, puppy's go through an "orally fixated phase" just like children only it's called the "chewing phase". Everything goes in their mouth during this time and rarely comes out the same it entered. In the case of personal belongings this can be quite distressing. There was a time when every other word out of my mouth was "DROP IT!!" "Drop it" often required at first my immediately following it up with prying open their mouth to dig out the item I had no intention of them consuming. When we FINALLY! moved past this stage, and started really playing games especially fetch and retrieve games, "drop it" didn't keep the mood playful.

I soon realized we needed another word, one that fit the context of play time, not one that had a more corrective over tone to it. That's when "give" became part of their vocabulary, it was a request that meant I want to keep playing with you so you need to let go so I can throw your toy again. The benefit has been noticeable. "Give" lights a gleam in their eyes as they quickly drop the ball and make a head start dash for the next throw. When I say "drop it" Shelby will actively work on spitting out what is in his mouth. I just love it when I see him honoring my request so directly.

Dogs are amazing! They really teach you the value of saying exactly what you mean. Don't think a dog will just read your mind. Although they may seem telepathic at times, they will love and honor your requests all the more if you are clear and direct in your communications. Avoiding confusion with the commands we give our dogs will very likely save their lives if a situation - God Forbid - should ever occur that requires precise immediate obedience. Especailly when there is no time for them to be second guessing, "what do they really mean"?

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