Many dog owners are at a loss for words when they wish to communicate with their dogs. Of course, your choice of words is not the issue. What is important is that you pace your vocabulary lessons in such a way that your dog absorbs the first few definitions before you go on to the text. And, since dogs are learning English as his second language, you must be very consistent in your teaching. In fact, in time, your dog, once started on the road to a better, richer vocabulary, will understand long sentences and life-saving orders.
Listed below is a sample of words to use on your dog. With these words, any dog can live in harmony with his human family, more or less.
No (Permission denied). This is probably the first word a puppy hears, or at least that registers as a word. It is important for every dog to know a word that stops him from urinating on the carpet, hogging the bed, running out into traffic, nabbing that piece of chicken, and chewing on the sofa or your shoe. “No” is that magic word.
OK (Permission granted). In order to have a balanced, happy, obedient pet, approval is just as important as disapproval. You can give your pet permission to do something he’d do anyway, just to show him it’s OK with you. This reinforces your position as the leader. It also increases the amount of positive re-enforcement in your dog’s life. You can use this release word to let him out of work, out of the house, into the car, at his dinner, and onto your bed. Dogs learn “OK” instantly.
Good Dog (Approval from the top). By saying “Good Dog” in the proper tone, you dog will give you everything. Saying “Good Dog” is the most important tool any owner has in training his pet.
Bad Dog (Disapproval from the top). “Bad Dog,” from the right lips, can be more powerful and more effective than any leash correction, any shaking, any cold shoulder, any confining, any anything you would think of doing to your disobedient dog. He must have your approval.
When you deny him that, you have already made a serious correction. No puppy grows to adulthood without hearing his share of “Bad Dogs.”
Sit (Plant your rump). Even an untrained dog should know “Sit” and “Stay.” How else can you have any order or control? Your dog must sit while you wait at the vet, while getting his collar put on, while waiting for his bowl to be filled or the traffic light to change, and while being groomed.
Come (Join me). The “Come” command is a crucial word in every dog’s vocabulary. You need to be able to teach your dog to come quickly, cheerfully and willingly when he is off leash, out of doors, and playing with his friends.
Off (Get off). The command “Off” is the proper word to say when you find your pet eating a greasy bone on your brand new white couch or shedding in your bed. It’s also good for correcting jumping or any other situation in which the dog’s big, hairy paws are on something they should be “Off.”