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Help Your Dog Understand Commands

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Repetition Creates Understanding, this is something we repeat often when training with dogs at K9 Culture in the Dallas Metroplex.

How often have you heard someone say: My dog won’t sit, my dog won’t come when I call them, my dog pulls on the leash when I walk them? If you know people with a dog, you have most likely heard it before and perhaps often.

Dog Sitting in outdoors
Dog Enjoying the world through obedience

The reason is typically not because the dog is a “bad” dog. The reason is the dog does not utterly understand the commands.

There is a difference between KNOWING a command and UNDERSTANDING a command. Think of it like having a co-worker that knows they are supposed to be at work on time but comes late most days anyway. They know it, but do not understand it. Its not that they understand there are consequences, understanding means they “get it.”

That is what a well-trained dog has. Understanding. They do not just know sit means sit, they UNDERSTAND the command.

Here is what we mean by that with the Sit Command. We start with Showing the dog what Sit means and we do that by teaching them the mechanics of the position first. Once they understand that we move into repetition. This is the area most dog owners miss, for they believe a hundred or so sits and the dog sits in the living room almost every time means the dog knows sit. It does not. The dog KNOWS the command, but they do not understand it yet.

First mistake many dog owners make is not enough repetitions. It takes a minimum of 500 to 700 repetitions for a command to be recognized like a second language for your dog. Our goal is 700 plus repetitions when teaching obedience commands to a dog.

Next, we work on duration. We start simple: 30 seconds. Then progress to one minute, then two and then three minutes holding sit. Once the dog can hold a command of sit for two minutes, we add distance.

Distance is a several layer process when building stability and reliability in a command. The body movement of the trainer will often pull the dog out of the sit, so we start all over each time until the dog learns to ignore body movement. Then we step away five feet and then 10 feet. Eventually working with the dog to help them understand to hold the sit position while we walk thirty to forty feet away and can keep changing directions while they continue to hold the position of sit. Once they can do that, they are ready for phase three which is distractions.

Now that the dog can hold a Remote Sit, we can toss toys around the dog and teach them how to ignore them or have a dog in a heel walk by them while they ignore the dog. Once a dog can Hold a sit for three minutes with a distance of thirty plus feet and with distractions in several different locations or environments, the dog now UNDERSTANDS sit means sit until the owner gives them a different command or release or break command.

This is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of patience and understanding with the dog. All dogs are different and their energy and breed effect their progress. We always want to be fair with the dog and not get greedy and ask them to do more than they have the skill set to accomplish which is why it is very time consuming to get stability and consistency in dog obedience commands.

If your dog is not having fun while you are training with them, make sure YOU are fun!

The K-9 Culture Family


A Dog That Is A JOY To Live With!


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