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Are you following through with some type of correction?
Maybe not very consistently, it's kind of a mess. I use "nein" in a few situations:

1. loose-leash walking if he starts pulling or won't leave a smell when I want to go.
for pulling, I say, "nein," pause, and if he doesn't back off (usually doesn't when he's in this mode), give him a sharp upwards jerk.
for leaving-a-sniff, I say, "let's go," and if he doesn't come (often he won't), I say "nein." I've noticed that usually he does leave the sniff at this point, which tells me he does understand the word, at least in this context. I should mention that Jupiter is a quite hard dog, and requires a fairly savage correction to really get a reaction out of (one reason I began to invest heavily in positive training during walks).

2. when we play frisbee, he brings it back, stops about 6 feet away, and drops it. Then he does this thing I hate, he grabs the (flexible cloth) frisbee in the center, which punctures it and rips up grass. If I say "nein" here, he ignores me, so I only get it by grabbing his collar, pulling him up, and saying "drop," which he obeys fairly shortly.

3. general purpose "nein" is usually ignored, it seems. "leave it," which he learned while very young, oddly seems to have better reactions.

4. I should note that I taught both of these commands initially positively, with a treat (he's very food-oriented) after he looks up, but also with a prong correction. The prong correction usually only happens on the walk, but I do give him a treat when he complies and comes back to me.
 

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@tim_s_adams
with my GSD, it does not need to be taught. She is always looking at me, when I walk her, train her, when she is hanging out with my neighbours. My rescue doesn't look at me the same way, esp. on walks. This morning, I think he did not look at me once, which can be really problematic when we encounter another dog. But I agree, the best commands do not have to be taught.

I didn't have to teach "find it" or fetch to my GSD. We were just playing and she figured them out. I do need to teach her to "drop it".
I think of it a bit differently. I don't "teach" my dogs to focus on me, I reinforce when they do it spontaneously from a young age, so that ultimately, it becomes default behavior. If you capture, mark, and reward things your puppy or dog is doing that you like, you'll find that they will usually start doing more of it. At that point, if you choose, you can put it on cue by naming it. I like to have several strong default cues, things my dogs do automatically without being told, but I also want them to do something when I specifically tell them to so there's a benefit to both approaches.

I've been fortunate that all of my dogs have had natural, genetic focus to varying degrees so it was never completely starting from scratch, it was just increasing their desire to do something that they were already inclined to do. With a pup that didn't come pre-loaded with that software you would probably need to actually train it, lol. Mine have all been natural retrievers too, so I didn't have to train them to chase after a toy and bring it back to me. That's also not going to be the case with all dogs, hence the many threads here on the board about teaching fetch.
 
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Here's a video of Cava giving me over 20 seconds of uncued eye contact on a rest/water stop on a hike. I'm sitting on a bench overlooking a lake, the path is behind me. At the end she starts to look away because there are people coming on the path. I'd love to take credit for her focus but the truth is I just built on what was already there. Halo was the same, her second week of puppy class at 14 weeks old, one of the other people stopped me after class to ask how I got her to focus on me like that. I just spent her first few weeks at home marking and rewarding eye contact, so even off leash in a room full of puppies and people, she chose to make eye contact with me.

 

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One thing I like to teach a new puppy right away is name recognition, and then a whiplash turn in response to their name, using a clicker to mark the exact second they start to turn back towards me. And in addition to eye contact ("watch"), there are two other attention directing exercises I work on a lot from a young age - "find it" - treat on the floor, and "touch" - nose bump to palm. All three of them are foundation behaviors that can be used in so many ways, including to train other, more complex behaviors.
 
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Discussion Starter #25
So many interesting comments. I'll have to add "touch" to my commands and I'm trying to capture Juno's natural tendencies (retrieve, find it, and attention). She's very different from my rescue, and I made most of my mistakes with him.

I can see how "come" is the best command.

I do wish, though, that I had taught her to give her paw more gently and when she touches my hand when we play "which hand?". Lol. My hands and arms are covered in scratches.
 

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Most important thing to train IMO is a good--solid--never fail recall through any distraction...many threads here where folks found out the hard way their dog didn't have a solid recall....
Something else we've been teaching in recent years is "peeing/pooping" that is useful more often than many people think it would be....I regret not teaching it in my younger years...
 

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I’ve found HALT to be especially useful when we hike.
When Josie was younger I remember being dragged on a slippery downhill section of a hike, landed on my butt and scraped my palm pretty well. Now when I say HALT she stops and waits until I give her the next command. Pea gravel downhill section? HALT. Snake slithering in front of us? HALT. Car approaching? HALT.

Learning TOUCH vs NOSE. Touch objects with her paw vs NOSE to touch objects with her nose. Saved the cherry wood cabinets from scratches.

Regret not teaching her a solid quiet command. Kind of regret teaching HUG. Cute on command not so cute when she does it out of nowhere (rarely happens).
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I regret not teaching threshold. We are working on it but it would be so much easier if she'd learned to wait till she has permission when she was younger...
 

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Recall. El mas impotanté

Close second “Give me a hug” Each morning My pups release command from the crate is “Chief give me a hug “. Anticipating his ears pop up at every sound and I’m a cruel master at about 5:30 he starts paying attention. If I clear my throat he’ll start to get up. I yawn he start edging out the crate. I know this because I put a baby cam in the room he sleeps. If I get up without calling him. The second I turn water in he will belt out a few “what the ****” barks. Once he get the all clear all 105 lbs bound around the corner into bedroom this being the one and only time he is allowed in the bedroom is to give us a hug each morning. T He snuggles up make the funnest half growl half hum sound that starts way down his chest. As he burrows his head under them covers. He repeats the same ritual with my wife. I don’t think she quite appreciates the attention like I do but she lets him have his way so to speak because for a few minutes each day his our little fur ball again.
 

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My dogs know the difference between a command and a polite suggestion. Here is a command, four on the floor is a suggestion.
Since I am just one bad hat away from being the crazy dog lady, my relationship with my dogs is a bit strange. They don't so much get trained as I condition them to put up with me.
Commands may not be ignored, suggestions may. But there are consequences to all actions. You can ignore knock it off if you like but it probably means I will remove you to some place much less fun to ponder your decision.
Best command would be out/leave it, regrets would be that I didn't make that's my coffee a command.
 

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Hello everybody,

What was the best command you taught your dog(s)?
Is there something you wish that you had taught them earlier?
And is there something you regret teaching or not teaching?

In my case, I never taught my rescue hound "look at me" and I think it was a mistake because I cannot l get his attention when he is stressed. We are working on it...

Happy weekend!
Best for me is commands in a different language than usually spoken in the home. I have a GSD/leon mix :)
We use Russian 'neit' for no, Spanish "sientate' for sit and stay. It just helps them to not be confused.
My better half has a 25 lb Boston that only knows to lay and bark for a treat, and for some reason that irritates me haha. I found that changing up requests for mine not only keeps his brain limber, but he's more accepting of learning new things for the same end result and makes him actually think =) good luck!
 

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I taught pup to open doors. All of our inside doors have levers instead of knobs. Pup can reach up to turn lever with his nose and push. Now if anyone wants to keep pup out they have to lock the door. It is pretty funny when we have house guests who don't know what to expect. More then one guest has gone into the bathroom to take a shower. When they get out they find a very furry black and tan lump where the bathmat used to be.

I tell people it is my poor man's radiant heat.
 

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BEST: "Wait Wait". Rumo will stop dead on command.

REGRET: My husband used to sprint after cats with Rumo, because he thought it was fun...now I can't break him (the dog) of the habit! 75 lbs of dog hitting the end of the leash at full-speed is really hard on me.
 

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I do wish, though, that I had taught her to give her paw more gently and when she touches my hand when we play "which hand?". Lol. My hands and arms are covered in scratches.
My crazy step daughter was 14 when Shadow arrived on scene. They used to have slap fights. It amused them endlessly, I have never been able to totally break Shadow of the habit. This leaves me with a dog that slaps at people when she is feeling argumentative and I swear the teen drama queen thing is a result of growing up with one. Honestly I have a dog that wails, stomps her feet, storms off to her room, throws her toys and in general acts like the sky is falling if I run out of her favorite treats!
 

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Not a command, but if Nitro goes one side of a tree and I'm the other when he's on his long lead, I wait for him to figure out the untangle. It doesn't take him long, he has a brain, I'm happy for him to use it.
 
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