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Doesn't respond to voice commands

1255 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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I think that is it. I have been doing the verbal and signal at the same time, assuming she would associate them. But I now suspect that since she had the signal, the verbal was superfluous and she just ignored it. I will work on my timing.
You've got it, I think. If you give the verbal and hand signal simultaneously, a lot of dogs will either learn that the combination is the cue, or that the hand signal is the primary and most important part of the cue (and maybe ignore the verbal entirely), because dogs are hardwired to pay significantly more attention to body language than verbal communication. It can take some pretty conscious effort to get the timing down, but definitely try breaking it down into verbal>hand signal>marker>reward, completing each step before starting the next. I know I've accidentally worked in treats to some of my cues by reaching for the reward as I was cuing, and had to go back and be more conscious of my timing to break that association.

Some dogs are more forgiving and pick up on what you want even if your timing's mushy, but even they tend to respond better to good timing because it makes communication as clear as possible.
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