We should know Power of Words in Dog Training and how powerful words can be.
Words such as signal, cue, command, obey, and punishment can affect how you think of your dog’s training.
Most of you know the power of words too. For instance, there’s this mom who’s trying to use “urban language” to look cool and communicate better with her kids. Okay, in this case, the verdict’s still out on how well it’s working.
And then there’s the Urban Dictionary. Always good for a chuckle or two.
Now on to the serious stuff! Have you ever thought about how the words you use in communicating with your dog impact you and your dog? I had not until I listened to this Animal Cafe interview with Kelly Gorman Dunbar and Dr. Roger Abrantes about how the words you use in describing dog training may affect your relationship with your dog.
Just to clarify, we’re not talking here about the actual words you speak to your dog. We’re talking about the words you use to describe your training exercises and methods.
Commands, Cues, and Signals: Different Words for the Same Thing…Or Are They?
Many of us use the word “command” to describe the act of asking our dog to do something specific, like “sit” or “stay”. But the word “command” has a totally different connotation than words such as “cues” or “signals”. Thinking of asking your dog to perform an action in terms of “signalling” or “cuing” him is different than “commanding” him to do something. “Signalling” your dog to sit rather than “commanding” him sounds less…well, not to put too fine a point on the subject, but it sounds less commanding, more friendly.
To be fair, this might not be true for all people, but it is true for many. Changing the terminology we use can also change our frame of mind about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.
Punishment: A Good or a Bad Thing in Dog Training?
Most of us think of punishment as a term that refers to using force, pain or intimidation to convince a dog not to perform a particular act. In reality, that is really not what the term “punishment” means. it affects your relationship with your dog. The word “obey” is another that many of us need to rethink.