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"OFF" OR "DOWN?"

That’s right. Which is it?


Your dog jumps up on the couch, a chair, you, your neighbor, your counter . . . . What do you say? “Off!” Or “Down?” Or anything at all?


On top of that, whatever you use, you end up saying it about thirty more times, or so it seems, in an effort to get your dog to cooperate, but your dog is still doing its two-legged dance with your visitor (if that's the case), much to your embarrassment.



That particular attempt as obedience doesn’t work.



Frankly, asking your dog to do something it hasn't learned is really setting it up for failure. And it does make it worse.




Okay. Let’s think this through a bit. What exactly does “down” mean to your dog? To lay on the floor or ground from a sitting or standing position (all four feet on the ground). But wait didn’t your dog just jump up on somebody and you said “down?” Shouldn’t that be “off?”



Do you think your dog was confused? I'd say he was.


What exactly did you expect your dog to do? Lay on the floor? Step back? Get off the person and offer a very obedient sit? But how would it know that if you didn't teach it to him?



Hopefully, at some point, you’ve done your homework with Phydo and taught him the command “off.” No? But I’ll bet you worked on “down,” though . . . and "sit" and probably a few other commands.



Okay, let's say you said "down." What exactly does that mean to your dog? To lay on the floor or ground from a sitting or standing position (all four feet on the ground). But wait. Didn’t your dog just jump up on somebody and you said “down” and nothing happened?



`This tells you that you need to work on your lie downs. A whole lot, because whatever or whoever the distraction/lure was there has a lot more value than whatever you've been doing and rewarding him with.



Time to remember to ignore any undesirable behavior (always keeping safety in mind - yours and your dog's). But since we should already know that ignoring your dog isn't ever a fix but just a way not to reinforce what you don't like.


Let's see what learning the command "off" entails.



HOW: It's the same as building value in your dog's name or marker, but this time you are going to use the label "off," which will become the future command of "off."(There is a definite difference between labeling and commanding. It about timing and reward value.)



I use a handful of high value treats (small ones) in a non distracting location, such as your kitchen or den, tossing them across a wide area. Each time my dog goes for a piece, I say "off" just BEFORE he eats it. (Timing is important here.) What Phydo is learning that there is great value for standing on all four feet on the floor or ground.


Too simple, you say? I hope it's simple. That's why the dogs learn so quickly. It's simple and clear. We humans are the ones who love to complicate things. Don't do it!



Of course, you'll have to do this time and again, like when you are training other behaviors, but it's going to be a future command (because you're doing labeling in the training process). However, if you do this the right way and build value, you may find your dog prefers to stand on all fours, unlike before.



REMINDER: As the intensity of the distraction rises, so must the value of the reward.


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