Dog Training Vocabulary Guide
Most dogs have the ability to retain several hundred words in their vocabulary. This is a list of the foundational words that we use here at Adventure K-9. It is important that you have a solid understanding of each word before working with your dog. This guide will help you understand the meaning of each word we will be using with your dog.
It is also important that you practice several repetitions with your dog to ensure they understand clearly what words mean before using them in real-life scenarios.
Here are the main vocabulary words we use in our training, along with their meanings:
Your Dog’s Name
It is crucial during training that your dog recognizes his or her name and responds to it
consistently when you address them. Be sure not to overuse their name, as you don’t want them to learn to tune it out. They should always respond the first time you address them.
This communicates to your dog when they have done something incorrectly. “No” tells them to stop what they’re doing and listen for redirection. It should not be yelled or overused as they can learn to tune it out.
This is a boundary exercise. It tells them to stop where they are and not cross the boundary. This can be used in areas such as the front door, back door, car door, kitchen, and even at your yard boundary. This is not a positional exercise. Your dog can sit, stand, or lay down – as long as they don’t cross the boundary. Once you give your dog the
“ok” they are free to cross the boundary.
“Down” tells your dog to lay down (not stop jumping). Like “sit”, they should hold this position until released with “ok”. This is a better position for your dog to hold for longer periods of time.
This tells your dog that they have done something correctly and we often pair them with some sort of reward (treat, praise, or play). A proper response to these words should be a tailwag and/or perked ears.
This is your release word. “OK” tells your dog that they are done with whatever task you had asked them to do.
This means that you’re moving and your dog should move with you. Your dog can be away from you and in any position they want, as long as they are moving with you and not pulling on the leash.
“Place” is a specific spot that you want to send your dog away to. It can be a dog cot, dog bed, blanket, or elevated surface. When you send your dog away to “place” they must wait until you release them with “ok”. This is another boundary exercise.
This tells your dog to put their butt on the ground. They should hold this position until you release them with “ok”. Remember not to repeat this command over and over. Do not have your dog hold this position for long periods of time – as it is not the most comfortable position for a dog to hold.
“Easy” tells your dog to settle down. When they are pulling on the leash you can tell them “easy”, meaning ease up on the leash and calm down. You can also use this command to settle down a dog that is playing too rough. This word is conditioned and learned over time.
1. DO NOT repeat commands. Teach your dog to respond the FIRST time you tell them to do something.
2. Be CONSISTENT! If you ask for a behavior, take the time to follow through every time.
3. Praise, praise, and praise some more. Most dogs want to please you. Let them know when they’re doing it
4. Body language is your dog’s primary language. Use your body to communicate if they are struggling.
5. Make sure you take the steps to properly generalize new commands. Practice more than you need it.