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I think it all depends on what you want from the dog.

If all you want is calm behavior during a greeting, then make up a word that means that--"chill" or something. Then, dog can sit, lie down, anything as long as he's calm.

But I think it may become confusing to the dog if you accept different repsonses for the same word. If "sit" sometimes means sit, but other times it means "down if you want to," then you're giving the dog the responsibility of deciding situationally what you want. In this particular instance, it's probably not that big a deal.

But there will be many instances (especially with an older, larger dog) where you do not want the dog to decide for himself. Knowing a basic list of commands (come, drop it, wait, and a release word) are pretty important to ensure the dogs safety.

So, I think there is some latitude in training. After all, the words themselves don't have any meaning to the dog until you give them meaning. Just make sure that you are consistent. Otherwise, you're going to have a very confused pup. And that's not fair to him.
 

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Sure, some dogs interpret "sit" to mean "blah blah blah"--it has no meaning at all. No words mean anything to a dog until they are taught what you want it to mean with repetition and reinforcement.

You could teach a dog to sit with the word "lamp" if you want to. Or to bark by saying "sit."

As long as you are consistent, the words themselves don't matter. It only gets messed up if you change things and give the same word different meanings--(i.e. sometimes sit, sometimes down, sometimes settle)
 

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Glad to be of help. I'm sorta the same way with some commands with Luca. Some words have more latitude than others.

For us, "Wait" means "hold still--I don't care if you sit, stand, or even move a little, just don't move forward." It's a command I use, for example, when we are on a walk and stop at intersections. I don't demand a sit, just that he wait. But IF I say "sit," I would expect a sit. Otherwise, if I were to say "sit" in this situation (and secretly not really care if he sits, just that he wait) and give Luca the option to possibly ignore the command, then it's not fair to expect him to sit in another situation when I really do mean it. He's smart, but he can't read my mind! LOL!

Just decide within your family what command words mean so that you and everyone else are using the same term consistently.
 
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