Friday, March 26, 2010

Cues are Important

One feature is that they mean one thing...and one thing only.

I have a few cues that are general. And for training cues, that's fine. "get it!" is a casual retrieve cue. "C'mere!" is an informal recall.

But this can cause problems. "Up!" sometimes means get all four feet up. And usually it's just about putting front feet up. A few times poor Griffin has had all four feet on a tree trunk, a moment panic with a "THANKS!" look, and then back on the ground to ask "what's next?"

Today we had a poor turnout for 4-H practice (first day of spring break, 30 some degrees out, and we were outside rather than indoors like usual). Griffin and I were training while waiting and the only tug item we had was a work glove. We played, trained, and did some great retrieves.

And then I wanted it back on the car. So, being remarkably intelligent, "Up!" And my dog was on the front of the van. And then on the windshield, and almost on the VERY TOP! Before I knew what to do there he was. I carefully guided him towards my edge and lifted him to the ground.

We will learn to discriminate between a front-feet-up and an all-feet-up cue this week. No more dangerous situations as a result of my faulty cueing.

1 comment:

Training my Mammoth said...

I think that the fact that you're aware of it will be a big help. I try teaching the dogs specific cues too - "off" means get all four paws on the ground while "down" means get in the down position. So it gets frustrating when my boyfriend tries telling them "down" meaning get down from the bed. The poor dogs look at him like, "I AM laying down!"