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Discussion Starter #1
I am still struggling with the proper implementation of release commands in training. I use verbal markers such as Yes, Good, Nope, and No. Yes is the release and reward marker. Good is the non-release marker as in keep doing what you're doing and rewards are variable. Sometimes will throw in a Good Boy and just use it as praise. Nope is a neutral marker (technically neg punishment marker) as in you didn't do it right, offer me a different behavior. No is my verbal correction marker.

That said, I use break as my release command. The issue I am grappling with is how strict, does my adherence to the break command (non-reward) have to be. For example, in practicing his stays, should I release him from every stay with BREAK? If he is done with his stay and I want him to come to me, should I use the release command BREAK before saying COME? It would seem more efficient to just say COME or whatever other commands I wanted him to perform after the stay. So basically, every command after stay would override the stay command. Or is there a good reason to always use BREAK to release the stay command before giving him another command?

The way I have been using Break also is usually used n training when I want him to break from one command and jump into the next command with a high state of arousal and speed. But I see this becoming a problem when I want to use BREAK as a release but for him to be simply "at ease" and not in a high state of arousal. Can dogs differentiate the context of the BREAK release? Obviously, I wouldn't want my dog to have the heightened stay of arousal of breaking a stay then releasing himself into a high state of arousal in a place like a coffee shop or store. Should I have another separate release for him to be released from his command, and relax but be potentially ready for another command?
 

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We just follow on STAY with whatever command we want him to do next... so if I want him to come to me then its COME, or to move from a down stay to a sit, then I say SIT or if we are moving again I say LETS GO. If we are finished with that section of work and there is no other command coming next I say FREE so that he know he is no longer in a STAY and free to do what he wants until I give him my next command. FREE is usually following by a bit of playing tug to release any energy and a LEAVE IT to take the tug away and followed by HEEL to then go into our next sequence of training.
I also use FREE at the end of a HEEL so that he knows he no longer has to do a focused heel, he is free to sniff and wander for a minute. I have never used FREE in a coffee shop... I can see that having a disastrous effect, lol. He is always in a down or a sit in a coffee shop, but never a STAY.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
KaiserAus,

I was thinking about what command to use if I want my dog in a stay, then release, to get something (or maybe GET IT would be the better command) or do to an obstacle e.g. agility. I think I may need three release commands: Yes for release and reward mark, break for release into something that doesn't necessarily have a command, but is related to some type of behavior that is implied, and a Free, which would be you are free to do what you want within reason (Go sniff, go play with another dog, go run around).
 

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This is a good question and I like the responses, but here is my two cents. I bet what we say doesn't matter as much as our body language. The dog probably sees our more casual movements and figures, "OK, we're done with the strict stuff".
 

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This *is* a very good and subtle question. My first thought is that your release command seems to be serving dual purposes: as a bridge, so to say, to the next command and as a signal that the first command has ended. That might be confusing to some dogs --- but perhaps not. My (admittedly novice) preference would be to simply go to the next command (e.g., 'stay,' followed by 'come;' aka chaining) and save the release to mark/signal that the dog is free (or released) from the first command and/or that the training session is over. YMMV.

My second thought is to make sure that whatever you use as a release command is a unique word that's not part of everyday language. I'm still grappling with a mistake I made years ago in that regard. The release command that I used ('Okay') is one that virtually everyone uses in everyday speech, including me. I cannot tell you how many opportunistic dogs have seized on the fact that someone in the universe said 'okay' while they were under another, patently objectionable command, like 'Stay' or 'Place.'

Aly


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It's funny you should mention the "Okay" release command Aly, as that's what I've been using. I also have realized that it's probably been a mistake to have chosen that word because it is said often by me when not addressing the dog. BUT, unlike you I refuse to admit my mistake - to my dog at least ? So, I've decided to require her name to be included, so she knows when I'm talking to her vs when I'm not. Hopefully I'm not just showing how ignorant a novice can be, and this will really work...
 

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I use "Okay!" for release but kinda regret it. She can sieve out any 'OK' from a regular conversation to her advantage. Smartie.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Then there are trainers who swear by the implied stay. Every command should be implied until it is released and there is no formal STAY command. This would seem like a lot more work as every command must be remembered to be released. What are the pros and cons of training an implied stay and not having a formal stay command?
 

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I sometimes forget that she is n a stay and since I don't need for her to be robotic, at one point she decides that it has been long enough and breaks the stay. I admit that this is a sloppy issue on my part but usually she is right. For some reason she doesn't abuse it. I guess we know each other very well.
 

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Then there are trainers who swear by the implied stay. Every command should be implied until it is released and there is no formal STAY command. This would seem like a lot more work as every command must be remembered to be released. What are the pros and cons of training an implied stay and not having a formal stay command?
I was in an AKC basic obedience class for my she-pup's social skills. I told her to "sitz' without the "stay". One of the helpers reminded me that I had forgotten it. I told her that my pup didn't need it. My gal sat very nicely. We use "Steh" for stand and I laughed when my mom told my big boy to Sit-stay. I told her she just told him to sit down and stand up.

If we go through a door and cannot release the sit or down or stay we use 'wait", which I hope basically translates to "you cannot follow us through the door". That way it needs no release.
 

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Then there are trainers who swear by the implied stay. Every command should be implied until it is released and there is no formal STAY command. This would seem like a lot more work as every command must be remembered to be released. What are the pros and cons of training an implied stay and not having a formal stay command?
Now that is an interesting question! I've been doing some variant of an implied 'stay,' for years along with training the more formal 'Stay." That said, what I've done is not so much 'stay' as it is "keep doing what you're doing [sit, down, whatever] till I release you or tell you to do something else." Mind you, I'm not doing formal obedience here, just trying to instill what I consider good manners. You're right, though, one does have to remember to release after each command.

Off the top of my head (and with only one cup of coffee in the tank) it seems that the hiccup that I've encountered with this approach has been when I start chaining behaviors or trying to shape a sequence for whatever purpose/reason. It seems to take longer to get there than one would expect (okay, longer than I expect) because the release/reward doesn't come until the end of the 'chain,' so to say. Mind you, we're only talking about two behaviors, at first.

Interesting, have to think about this some more...
 

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With my previous female GSD a I used OK as a release, and a stay, which meant wait for a release. When she was still learning she'd sometimes abuse the OK release command, taking any conversational OK as a release, but surprisingly rarely. As she got older, say from about 4 yrs and up, she never used a conversational OK as a release....maybe it was the tone of voice, or body language, or a combination, who knows. Interestingly, she also would sometimes self-release if I went off and forgot to release her from a stay; but again, she never abused it. If, as happened a few times, it made sense for her to stay she'd hold without moving all night or all day long. She proved this a couple times by staying with my truck (When I broke down and one of the doors didn't lock, so I left her with the truck to watch it). With my pup now I've introduced the wait command also to mean that you're free to do what you like here but cannot follow me right now. I am not training this dog for competition either, but if this puppy is anything like my previous dog she'll learn to follow both stated and implied commands with the same ease...I hope. If not, I'd have to really think about how to formalize these behaviors. I can think of several scenarios though, where not using a formal stay command, and always expecting commands to be held until released, would take a lot more discipline on my part. It would probably turn out to be really hard for me to be consistent enough not to confuse the dog
 

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It would probably turn out to be really hard for me to be consistent enough not to confuse the dog
Well, I'm often confused, so sometimes Puppers just has to put up with me, bless her/him, till I sort myself out. LOL. I'll admit that there have been dogs who've gotten disgusted and corrected me for having done things wrong or in the wrong sequence. Humbling...
 

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Well, I'm often confused, so sometimes Puppers just has to put up with me, bless her/him, till I sort myself out. LOL. I'll admit that there have been dogs who've gotten disgusted and corrected me for having done things wrong or in the wrong sequence. Humbling...
LOL - We've all been there a time or 10,000 ?
 

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If we go through a door and cannot release the sit or down or stay we use 'wait", which I hope basically translates to "you cannot follow us through the door". That way it needs no release.
That's interesting. I was taught to use 'wait' (i.e., stop moving your feet) as a precursor to teaching 'Stay' and to use doorways/gates (or other obvious boundary markers) to facilitate training it (the 'wait' command, I mean). I find 'wait' is useful when teaching leash manners too, particularly when approaching a crosswalk where I want my dogs to wait before stepping into the street. (I may or may not pair the 'wait' with 'sit,' depending on the circumstances, where the dog is in training, etc). Once the roadway is clear, I say 'Let's go!' (i.e., follow me, move forward) which I suppose could be construed as a release or another command in the chain, depending on your perspective. Once they get it, 'wait' is really useful as a general purpose emergency command (e.g., dog is about to step on a freshly washed kitchen floor. ;)

Aly
 

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I use wait when he is not in a sit or down, at doors or on a walk. Implied stay doesn't work for us. He will do what I want him to do, but I have to tell him to do it. His release command is "free". I figured it was easier for everyone to understand if each step had its own command. I always correct my wife, she uses words he doesn't know and gets irritated when he doesn't listen. I'm like he doesn't know what "Ok, that's enough" is, "off" and "leave it" will get a response every time. Not sure if anything I said is relevant but I wanted to chip in lol.
 
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