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Doesn't respond to voice commands

1259 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Bluemoods
I have a 18 month old Toller. She knows about a dozen tricks by hand gesture, but doesn't seem able to learn them by voice command.

She does her puppy obedience commands by voice well enough (she comes when i say "come"...), but when I tell her to "spin", she looks bewildered and then does tricks she knows at random; apparently hoping one of the is "spin". When I move my finger in a circle she immediately spins.

Many of them she has known for year, but just doesn't seem to connect verbal commands to the behaviors. How do I improve this?
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Most people don't understand while HUMANS are verbal, Dogs are not. ALL the dogs I have ever trained have learned first with no words.. they respond to body language much better because that is how they respond and cue each other.

In my sport you cannot use body language to help the dog. It is called "handler help" and you get major points deductions. Only in the blind search and in the go out can you use body language. At national events I have seen a judge take off points for arm movements, bending at the waist (as in a recall) and for a multitude of other moves we don't even see ourselves doing.

Soo.. I start my dogs with luring (lots of body language there!) and then move to a clicker/YES! marker and getting the dog to offer the behavior (and retaining the body language). When the dog starts to offer the behavior reliably (no words yet!) I add words and fade the body language. Eventually we move entirely to a verbal and clicker/YES! marker.

I am not sure where you are missing the link, but that is what I do. Clearly your dog is responding to your body language. Perhaps, when the dog offers the correct behavior for the verbal you are slow to mark it and reward it? Timing is everything...
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