Another question on training:
One of the issues training dogs is that they don't actually speak English, or any other language. They just know to associate the sound we make with a behavior they perform. We say 'Sit' and through conditioning the dog sits.
This leads to some fun side affects. For instance if you get in the habit of asking your dog to sit before you ask it to lay down eventually your sit will turn in to lay down.
The other bit of fun is repetition. How many people will do the 'sit, sit, sit, sit, sit' thing to their dog? I've done it in the past but I've learned not to do that. Same with other commands. If you say a command and the dog does not respond repeating the command is probably not a good idea, eventually it just turns in to white noise the dog's brain filters out. The repeated 'NO!' your dog hears eventually is meaningless.
Also not helping is that the command words show up in our day to day language outside of dog training. For instance, "Hay! COME here and look at this!" you yell to your wife when you discover your winning lottery ticket. On the phone 'yes, yes, yes, that is exactly what I mean'. Your dog is hearing all this. Your dog does has a context free language parser - so those yeses were all approval of whatever the dog was doing at the time (say dragging his butt across your dining room carpet).
One of the ideas I have is to not use commands for my English vocabulary. Your dogs don't speak English. They really have no idea what you are saying to them. So to avoid using words that we use in everyday conversation why not grab words out of a different language. For instance: for most people it is highly unlikely their dog will ever encounter Klingon being spoken. Or Latin.
According to the Klingon to English translator sit in Klingon is "ba'".
I've gone through and picked out roughly 10 commands using Klingon. Here is the problem I see: I've had the commands available for a week and I've yet to use them. It sounds like a great idea, but at this point I really think its a great deal more trouble than its really worth.
Any thoughts on this?
Many dogs are trained in Dutch, German, French... I actually use a combination of German and Dutch. Through proper training, the dog will pair whatever cue to the behavior the trainer chooses, be it physical, visual, olfactory, or audio.
I also train different commands for formal and daily living commands, like focused heel and lose leash walking.
Klingon is a unique choice :thumbup:
Tyler Muto trains some dogs in Creole.
Mine is in Russian, only because I'm more comfortable speaking it.
It really doesn't matter which words you choose and it doesn't have to be unique words that your dog never hears.
I still use a few english words like yes, no, come and somehow he knows when I'm talking to him and when to ignore me.
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One of the mantras in training is "dogs don't generalize well," for good reason. They can be very specific in how they respond.
At our Rally trial yesterday, I gave Pongu a "Down" cue with the vocal intonation that I normally use for "Stand." I knew as soon as I did it that I'd screwed up and created a problem, and that's just what happened: Pongu was confused for about a second and a half, then resolved his confusion by giving me a Stand instead of a Down, because he chose to respond to the tone rather than the word. He clearly recognized both, but just as clearly was confused by the conflict, because the word was not given in the hyperspecific way he expected.
And neither of my dogs will really listen to anyone else, not even my husband (because I'm a bad person and think it's funny for them to blow him off). Responding to random other people's conversations is a total non-issue.
That said, it can't hurt to train your dogs in Klingon, so hey, if you want to do that, go for it. No reason not to. ;)
@Merciel - thanks. That was really interesting.
So while I think this is overly geeky here is are the basic commands I've begun using and retraining with:
Sit - ba'
Lay Down (Down) - nep
Stay - pelos
come here - naDev
Drop it - Oh'Chagh
Heel (left) - pOS
Heel (right) - nIH
Front - hop
Leave it - ohmej
Yes - lu'
No - Qo'
Wait - Los
Release command - qulPeng (fire torpedoes)
Sorry - no pronunciation guide but based on the feedback here and other sources: it doesn't matter anyway. Just be consistent.
My dogs know both the verbal and hand movements for commands but my 2 year old Chow/Shepherd has these things down because I have always done them in the same order which is, Sit, Lay, Roll Over, Up, Shake. So now when I say sit she just does all of them without me saying any command :shocked: Apparently I should mix it up some! But it is pretty hilarious when she does it for other people and I tell her to sit and she goes into a whole routine of tricks lol:D
I felt the same way at one time, I thought of having commands in French, it is such a lovely sounding language. The problem is I'd have to teach my husband and daughters French.
These dogs are very intelligent and I know my dog does pick up words in a conversation. For example my one daughter, Loren lives away from home and if I am having a conversation with her sister about "Loren", my dog will hear this and get excited and start staring out the front window hoping she will come over. So instead of saying, "Loren", I have to refer to her as "your sister or your twin". She can over hear voices on the phone. We have a business neighbor that my dog loves, Michael. One time Michael needed a service from our business, called here, Molly recognized his voice, got so excited, started barking and it was difficult to hold a conversation.
What I found I really had to do was discipline myself and my family to stick to one word commands, come - not come here, sit - not sit down. I cringe when I hear my neighbors say when their dog is running away, " get over here you little pos" way too many words. Hand signals to me are very important and use them along with commands, or just by themselves. When my sister's dog became deaf, I knew I should have a back up plan.
I understand you don't have to use any official language to train a dog, but in an emergency I know my mind will think English 1st, so that is what I use so there are no delays. I forgot to mention eye contact, this is important so that you can say to your wife, let's sit down for dinner, but you are not looking at your dog so hopefully it won't sit, plus your tone and emphasis on "sit" will be different.
I am pretty sure that I have read somewhere that dogs can understand language association---some use normal english for in the home, but when working use German/Dutch and the dog knows that the german/dutch commands mean working time and the English is for home time.
Whatever I decide Sabo and I will do, I am considering using a different language...and I kinda like your nerdy klingon...mostly so my kids dont over use a command! I'm constantly correcting them and hubby "off" not "down" for the couch; Sit not Sit Down...and that kinda stuff.
I unintentionally ended up teaching hand signals for sit, down and wait...and through the glass door the other day for kicks, I motioned "sit" and he sat! I motioned "down" and he did it...I motioned "wait" and he was still until I opened the door and motioned "ok"!
ever tried 'no commands'? as in using sign or just plain old body language?
Or try a little experiment, I know I've done this unintentionally at one point or another, especially on an agility course,,pushing your dog to do say, an aframe, while yelling some other obstacle? :) 9 times out of 10, the dog will take the obstacle your body language is telling him to..
I agree that taking stress in to account means that using just straight up English is a better idea.
I use hand signals for sit, down, and wait. Come isn't quite a hand signal. I crouch down and lean forward, seems to work well with nearly any dog. Trained or not they trot over to see what's going on.
I adjusted the 'words' above to avoid too many syllables which avoids the 'lay down' thing. What I actually entered in to the translator was just 'down'.
In regard to the dogs figuring out that down follows sit...I was warned off of that a while ago. It's fun to run in to people whose dogs have learned that lay down should follow sit because that is how they taught their dog 'down'.
All of this is just for fun. So I'm honestly not putting much effort in to it. But it is amazing how fast dogs pick up on things. I've only had Kaiser for a little more than a month and he has figure out most of the important stuff. Should make getting further in to agility a lot of fun.
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