I’ve been thinking the past few days about the utility of silent signals. I’m always playing around with things and trying to figure out if there’s a way to improve what I’m currently doing. I want to talk about how we, as humans, love to give voice commands multiple times. That means you are just using your leash and hand signals and not actually speaking to the dog.
In the initial drill, I teach people, which centers around place training. I have them take their dog off the bed and settle for a moment; then, I have my clients put the dog in a heel position and relax the leash. The dog is behind the front of their body on the left side. The leash is slack, but I don’t put a voice command to that.
I like the fact that we’re not going to tell the dog to sit or to heel. We’re just going to stop there as a default position, and we aren’t going to name it. I think that’s useful because we’re going to show the dog this thing, and we aren’t going to say a word. We will reward them. Then the dog will believe that this is a default position. That they should be in it when they don’t know what else to do.
Think about that. Do a place training drill, 5-10 minutes max. Put your leash on the dog and the treat pouch on the left side of your body. Then put your dog on their bed. Call that “free” and walk away maybe 5-10 steps when they’re coming off. When you turn back to put your dog on the bed, have your dog stop in the heel position. Then slack the leash for about 10 seconds.
Next, begin to guide them back to the bed. Say, “go to your bed.” When you get back on, you should tell them what a great dog they are. Gesture them into the down and tell them again what a great dog they are for that. Then, do it all over again, maybe 5 times or so.
It would be great to get feedback from you all if your dog is looking for that heeling position more often. I use that position for my dogs often. I think it’s a perfect position to get a dog into without actually putting a voice command to it.
Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for your feedback or questions on this. You can text (832)734-5189. Also, please feel free to go to my YouTube Channel for more tips just like this one, or right here on my website at www.longoriahausdogtraining.com.