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Hi all!

We just finished the second of a six week puppy class with Rosie. The instructor/trainer has two commands: "Come" means stop whatever you are doing and come to me immediately. "Here" means to over here by my side. She says "If you overuse the word 'come' it won't have as strong a meaning when you need to use it."

I understand her point... here's my problem. We've used "come" to mean over here by my side with much success. Rosie is not 100% consistent but is still learning and we are bad about rewarding her with a treat or words even when we have to repeat "come". In fact, she comes when it's to her benefit... not when she doesn't feel like it. :( Anyway here's my question, can't we use the same two words only for opposite meaning with Rosie? The only harm I can see is during the puppy class when we are asked to demonstrate our progress or work with her on these commands.

Opinions?
 

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Yes you can switch the meaning, and you should use whatever is comfortable to you. Your instructor should be able to adapt and understand, I would think.

A word of caution (no pun intended), you need to always have something of high value to reward the dog for, what is, your "HERE!" Don't be lazy or sloppy with rewarding the dog what may be an emergency recall. And, regardless of what your instructor may say, reward HERE for a long time. If "come" is not for emergencies, you can be more variable with reinforcement. Just something to think about...you know your situation better than I.
 

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I tell my students that they can use any word they want as long as they and the dog understand it to mean the same thing. Having an emergency recall is a good thing. What you call it is not important. The main qualifications for a good cue word is that A) it doesn't sound like another word that the animal hears frequently (for instance -bow and down sound alike and look alike to the dog) or a word might sound like the dog's name. You can use multiple cue words for the same behavior but a cue word can have only one meaning (so you shouldn't use, for instance, "come" for "come to me" and for "walk with me" - a mistake I see frequently.
 

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I have talked to my dog trainer about using different words and hand signals than what he uses, because Hitch was completely obediance trained before we got him. Our dog trainer said that it was totally fine, and to use whatever Hitch already responds to. You may just want to tell your trainer, so that they know why you are using other words.
 

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Hi all!

We just finished the second of a six week puppy class with Rosie. The instructor/trainer has two commands: "Come" means stop whatever you are doing and come to me immediately. "Here" means to over here by my side. She says "If you overuse the word 'come' it won't have as strong a meaning when you need to use it."

I understand her point... here's my problem. We've used "come" to mean over here by my side with much success. Rosie is not 100% consistent but is still learning and we are bad about rewarding her with a treat or words even when we have to repeat "come". In fact, she comes when it's to her benefit... not when she doesn't feel like it. :( Anyway here's my question, can't we use the same two words only for opposite meaning with Rosie? The only harm I can see is during the puppy class when we are asked to demonstrate our progress or work with her on these commands.

Opinions?

Use what you want. As long as you reward it heavily, and are consistent with what the signal means, it will build up even more reward history and condition the behavior more strongly. The meaning is whatever behavior you attach to the word. I would switch cues with Rosie. If 'come' isn't as good as you need/want, reteaching with another cue/signal makes sense, imo. It isn't how much you use the signal, but are you consistent with the expected behavior, building up the strength of the behavior and not using it in anger or otherwise as a portend to something undesirable for the dog.

I wouldn't think the actual cue word would be an issue with your instructor? It would seem like the performed behavior would be the focus - not the signals between the dog/human team. If you're getting the recall and that's what she wants each team to demonstrate, then all should be good.
 

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As others have said, you can use any word you want. If I want my dogs to come into a particular position, I will cue them that position ("Front," "Close," or "Side,") and if I just want them to return to me with no particular position, I just use their name.
 

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I agree with everyone, all you have do remember is that no matter what word you use, your dog does not understand the word just merely associates the word with the action they are rewarded for.
I.e my friend at work uses 'sausages for sit and simply bananas for drop. Sounds strange in practice but the point proved is still the same :)
Best of luck
Daisy
 

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I wouldn't know. My dogs respond to 'Yo' and ''Ey, 'mere for a second." Lol
 

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Just use the word that works for you. You could teach your dog that "banana" means "come to me". You don't have to use any certain word. Dogs don't know English!

For my dogs, if I say their name followed by a kissy sound or "come on!" that means "stop what you're doing and come a little closer to me, but you don't have to come all the way." When I say "here" that means come all the way to me. It's what works for us.
 

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For some reason, "here" works better for us. Jackson hardly responded to "come"... I started using "here!" in a high pitched voice and he just responds sooo much better. So it works for us.
 

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I use 'Here' to call my dogs, "come by" is a herding term and don't want to confuse them. I use "That'll Do" for 'STOP and come NOW' lol
 

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With Bambi I use Come when I want her to stay in the area, Side when I want her close, and Heel means right at my side and paying attention. With Riley all you have to do is call his name and he stops and waits for further instruction, usually it is get over here. Dycen we inadvertently trained Find it as his emergency recall (this distracts him, brings him back to me where he waits for me to either have him wait or if I say it again he will search for his rope and once found will either bring it back to me, if he can, or alert me to where it is so that I can get it for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks all!
 
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