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I had heard some people say that you shouldn't use the word "okay" for a release word. I'm guessing that is because it is so common in our everyday speech. Is that the case? I confess I am having a hard time not using it as I have used it with all my dogs over the years.

I'd be interested in hearing why or why not and if you don't use OKAY, what is your release word.
 

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I trained my first 3 dogs using "Ok" and I can't tell you how many times I accidentally released them when in conversation with someone! Since they were often off leash this could have been really dangerous and it was certainly confusing when I started screaming at them to stop!


I now use, "Let's Go." Next time I will use "Free" because I sometimes accidentally use go in a sentence and that confuses Rafi.
 

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We also use "Free" with Link since the Okay thing does come up quite often in our family.
 

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i use different words depending on the situation and my dogs actually understand quite well - the tone of certain words also make a difference, and whether or not i'm looking at them (i try to make eye contact with them at all times when giving a command or release). i guess the most reliable would be for their 'release' to be a command of whatever you want them to do next...

for instance - in the past couple of days, these are all the ways ive released my dogs from a stay or wait...

"okay"
"come"
"go"
"up"
"out"
"play"
"YAY"
"amen" (i use that now instead of eat)
"get it"
"good job" (which i'm currently trying to break myself from using)
 

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Here's a humorous reason not to use the word "Go!" as a motivator. Rafi is very interested in bunnies and one night there was a bunny right in front of us that wouldn't move. I told Rafi to sit and stay. I stomped my feet but the bunny just huddled down there in front of us. Finally I yelled, "Go, bunny, go!" Guess who almost needed shoulder surgery?
 

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We teach our clients to use the word "Release."
 

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I have always used OK for a release word and never had an issue. But I very rarely say OK in normal conversation, I say "allright"(sp).
 

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Originally Posted By: SusanWritesI had heard some people say that you shouldn't use the word "okay" for a release word. I'm guessing that is because it is so common in our everyday speech. Is that the case? I confess I am having a hard time not using it as I have used it with all my dogs over the years.

I'd be interested in hearing why or why not and if you don't use OKAY, what is your release word.
I don't like OK as a release word because it is used too often in everyday speach.

I couldn't tell you how many times we've been working with people who use OK as their release, and the dog is in a down or something while we give some pointers or instructions, handler says "ok, I got it" or something to that effect to *us* and dog breaks the command.

We use "free" as our release command. Keeps things clear and consistent for the dog, and not much chance of error since "free" isn't something that's likely to be said in conversation.
 

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I used to use 'okay' as my release word until my dog trainer told me it's too often used in everyday speech and I'd be best to choose a different one. So Ris' release word is "bien."
 

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I use the word "break" for our release word. Though about using a different word for each dog, but since I still mix up the good boy/good girl thing, I figured I'd keep it simple!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all so much! I really appreciate hearing the why behind it, which makes sense, and the various ways you all release your dogs. It becomes apparent to me that this is one more way in which it will be harder to retrain ME than it will the dog. LOL.

I think we are going to use DANKE for release as we are trying to add some German to her vocab and it is less likely to be used around the house. I was going to use BIEN but French is more likely be spoken in our regular conversation.

What about a marker word? I am trying to use YES for that. I am also trying to remember a calm yet happy YES as opposed to the early days when I went all whoopee all over the place, much too excited for her. I can't believe what a difference it makes.
 

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Again, I wouldn't recommend using 'Yes' for a marker word. Our trainer uses that for her dogs and she regrets having done so. 'Yes' is just too often used in daily speech.

I use 'Yosh' for Risa's marker word. (It's Japanese for 'allright.') It's unlikely to come up in conversation or be used accidentally.
 

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Originally Posted By: Murphy-ElperroguapoAgain, I wouldn't recommend using 'Yes' for a marker word. Our trainer uses that for her dogs and she regrets having done so. 'Yes' is just too often used in daily speech.
See, I do use "yes" for a marker word. But, here in the midwest, you'll rarely hear anyone use the word "yes"... me included. It's "yup" "yep" "yeah" "uh huh" or any number of various slang terms for the affirmative. But don't often hear "yes" used in everyday conversation.


Point being, everyone needs to take into consideration their own language, dialect, speach patters, favorite phrases, and pick words that are unique but also easy to use. With ANY communication with a dog, one of the keys to success is clarity. So be it a command, release, marker, or anything else, having something that is unique to the dog and not likely to come up in general conversation is important as it minimizes confusion and mistakes.
 

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I have used OK for 25 years and never had a problem with it. Maybe it is because of the tone or that I also use body language in my releases.
 

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Like Chris I use "Yes" as a marker. If I use "yes" in every day conversations it is so out of context to a training situation that the dogs know the difference.
 

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I use "OK", however I understand completely why people wouldn't


I frequently talk to no one in particular, and will end up saying OK, which of course Taedyn would then go and do whatever it was she was waiting eagerly to do.

I've ended up correcting her enough times now, though, that she doesn't trust "OK" any longer. She waits until I both say "OK" and gesture with my hand.

I've actually switched to mostly hand gestures now. Apparently, gestures are easier for them to get than verbal commands. I was using hand gestures mostly unconsciously, and then discovered that she would follow the hand gesture just as well as the verbal command. It's handy for communicating silently.
 

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Originally Posted By: ceardach
I frequently talk to no one in particular, and will end up saying OK, which of course Taedyn would then go and do whatever it was she was waiting eagerly to do.

I've ended up correcting her enough times now, though, that she doesn't trust "OK" any longer. She waits until I both say "OK" and gesture with my hand.
Perfect example of why I don't like "ok" as a release word. I never want to be in a position of correcting my dog for MY mitake, and I never want my dog to distrust me or my comminucation with her. Not fair to the dog.

Originally Posted By: ceardach Apparently, gestures are easier for them to get than verbal commands. I was using hand gestures mostly unconsciously, and then discovered that she would follow the hand gesture just as well as the verbal command. It's handy for communicating silently.
Yes, dogs will pick up hand gestures and body language cues very quickly. A dog's "native language" is body language, as that is how the communicate with each other, and they are masters of reading even very subtle verbal cues. Verbal language is a human thing, unnatural for dogs, so it takes them longer to learn. Given verbal command and hand signal, a dog is going to pick up on the hand signal first every time.
 

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I was working with a trainer earlier this year who tried her darnedest to get me to change my release word, which is "okay". I've been using it for 22 years, and already knew all the reasons why it's not a good idea. Even if I could get this old dog to change her spots, I have a hard enough time getting my hubby to be consistent with commands we've been using for years without suddenly changing them, so I politely but firmly declined. I explained that my dogs seemed to understand context and relevance in reference to words, and that I use a different inflection than I do in normal conversation, usually with eye contact.

The funny thing is that just a couple weeks later Keefer was in a down stay at the off leash park while the trainer and I were talking. Within the space of a few minutes, between the two of us we'd said okay 5 times, and Keefer not only did not break his stay he didn't even flinch. When I pointed it out to her, that he hadn't reacted to us using the word multiple times in casual conversation, she smiled and acknowledged that he did seem to understand the difference.

For newer dog owners who don't already have commands that they've used for a long time that are deeply engrained habits, I would recommend using something other than okay. I've never had a single instance of accidental release by using okay in conversation near my dogs, but I can see that it could potentially be a problem.

I also use "yes" as my marker. Like Chris, I don't say yes that often in casual conversation, but again, the dogs seem to know when I'm engaging with them and when I'm not. I look at them, speak directly to them, and use a more upbeat inflection when I use the word as a marker. If you say yes a dozen times a day and nothing happens unless you're actually engaging your dog, s/he will quickly learn relevance. Or at least that's my half baked theory.
 

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I will take a serving of that half baked theory!


I have exactly the same problem - and outcome. I know why I shouldn't use "okay" and if I were just starting fresh, I'd chose something else but after this many years of using it and perfecting reflex timing, I seem to lack the rewiring ability to replace it easily. And since it's not actually causing me any problems, I haven't tried that hard.

My dogs too seem to know context and inflection. I've never had one get up when they shouldn't.

I still agree it's not a first choice but thank goodness my dogs are forgiving of mom's foibles.
 
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