When do you introduce a cue?
When people watch me train puppies, they often ask me when I'm going to say the cue word "down" or "stand" because when I'm first teaching a puppy these behaviours I do it silently. Why do I choose to just use food to get the puppy to do what I want rather than giving a cue word with the lure?
Sometimes puppies aren't sure about lying down, especially in a new place with other things going on. I don't want the puppy to practice ignoring my words, learning that what I say has no relevance to them. Do you remember the Charlie Brown tv cartoons? They had a teacher in the cartoons that only spoke in sounds, not actual words. When she spoke it was just "wah wah wah". I don't want to be that teacher.
This can apply to so many other behaviours, especially those with props such as a perch where the prop itself provides a cue. So next time you want to teach your dog a new behaviour, think about whether you can set up the situation to explain to your dog what you want so that you can get the behaviour to look the way you want it to before you attach a name to it.
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