In Dog Training, Simple Commands Work Better than Complex Ones

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by Rosana Hart

When you are doing simple commands are the best kinds to use. They are easier for puppies and dogs to understand. This concept is generally taught in an class, but it can take some time to get the hang of doing this.

For example, instead of just saying “sit” when that is what they want their to do, often people will repeat the command two or three times. Or they may go into a little speech like “Sit… I said sit…. you did it yesterday, come on, now!” This does not really get the any further down the road.

What you are trying to do in using simple one-word commands is to create a habit in the dog. Canine behavior, like that of humans, has a lot of habitual aspects to it. When you train dogs with simple commands, they are easier for the to hear and recognize the meaning than if they have to pick out the words from your steady flow of speech.

Naturally, dogs may notice certain words in the middle of your conversation with someone else. If you ask your son, “Are you ready to go for a walk with Buddy?” it is likely that Buddy will recognize his own name as well as the word “walk.” have been listening to people talk for centuries!

So use one-word, easily pronounced commands — which, by the way, are also sometimes called cue words. That expression gets away from the idea that you have to be the boss and the dog has to obey! While there are certainly times that do call for , such as when you need the dog to come rather than go into the street, by and large the best evokes willing compliance from the dog.

When you are teaching your new , do use simple terms like come, sit, stay, and down. These are time-tested training commands that work well.

Incidentally, an all-too-common puppy behavior is to jump up on people. You will want a command to stop your dog from doing that. Since “down” means “go down to the floor,” that isn’t exactly what you need. A better word here is “Off!”

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