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Discussion Starter #1
It's so frustrating when other people don't understand the importance of not overusing a word for a command, especially when the dog is still trying to learn it. I just recently found out that my boyfriend ruined the command "Leave it" for the leave it behavior, and was in the process of ruining "Focus" for the look at me behavior. He's said "leave it" so many time that Wicket is not desensitized to it and doesn't do the behavior for leave it anymore. He's been doing this for while and I didn't know. He's also messed up "down" and "sit" that Wicket doesn't know which word is for what movement. She still has an idea for "down" and "sit" but it's not as reliable as it was when she was younger.

I've tried to explain the dynamics of dog training to him, but he thinks I'm a load of hot air and ignores everything I tell him. He's already eliminated a lot of words and sounds for me to use for Wicket, and it's getting harder and harder to find words that he wouldn't use to overuse. Recall has been that much harder because I can't do any whistles or use the words related to coming back "come" "over here" "return" etc. He thinks some of the words I use for commands are so stupid, but I really have no choice if I want something reliable.

My dilemma is that because a lot of words for particular commands have been poisoned... I am debating whether or not to try to teach new words to these commands; ie recall, focus, leave it, etc. I'm even thinking about making them a different language so no other people can use those words. For the newer stuff, it'll probably be easiest since Wicket doesn't know the word to the behavior too well. However for "sit" and "down", she knows the words well but just mixes them up, should I teach new words or try to reaffirm which is which? The big problem is that I want my boyfriend to be able to use those commands, and the same if for example Wicket were to get away and other people try to help and call to her to "come". However, if I can't even train the words in the first place, what's the point if I cannot trust other people to respect my training process? Should I just go ahead make my commands inaccessible to others and train her in a different language, or should I try to regained those words she is now indifferent to?
 

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I would personally try to retrain the commands Wicket already knew/knows. I would not use foreign language ... as you say in an emergency it is good to use a recall command that is generally used by the common person ... like "come". It could mean a matter of life and death in some circumstances ... like when in danger of running into the road and such .........

I would put your boyfriend in a permanent time-out.
 

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The mistake that most people make is saying the verbal command too early. I lure Hallie into doing the action repeatedly until she knows how to reliably do it, then I introduce the verbal part of the command several sessions later.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yea, I try to avoid that mistake by not saying the word until I know she can do it with the lure and hand signals first. My boyfriend doesn't understand this and thinks the dog should just do what its told and will "get it" eventually. Hence why I'm so frustrated because he uses the verbal command right away before I have a chance to make the the behavior hand signal reliable. Or when I start introducing the verbal command and fade out the hand signal, he'll think Wicket knows it already and start overusing the verbal. Result, a dog that doesn't know what the heck is going on. Also he doesn't reward her for doing the new behavior she is learning, so she is not as motivated to do it again.
 

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My husband is similar to your boyfriend, so I feel your pain. Could you give your boyfriend a book or article that explains the basics of dog training? Or, even though you don't need it, could you sign up for a basic obedience class with your boyfriend? As frustrating as it is, sometimes it's not what is said, but who says it.
 

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Wicket I feel for you. I am going through the same issue with my spouse and puppy. He is 12 weeks old and is being trained (by me) to be my service dog (spine injury). Before we got Romeo I told hubby over & over he had to follow what I do or the training I was trained to do would not work. It is going horrible! I had him pad trained in 3 days at least 75 % of the time successfully. Hubby decided to make him go on pad by putting him back on it over and over and over for long time periods. NOW Romeo goes under the table bench to go as he knows no one can reach him there! GRRRRRRR! He also says commands wrongly to Romeo. I feel like I now have two "kids" to train ;)

I will be watching your thread to see how things go for you and hopefully get some tips for us.
 

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PS: cookie - great idea! BUT (always a but lol) Hubby thinks HE knows everything, he won't read or go for training. I know your response is for Wicket, sorry to but in ;)

I am ready to do 1 of 2 things to hubby - :tape: or :brick:
 

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PS: cookie - great idea! BUT (always a but lol) Hubby thinks HE knows everything, he won't read or go for training. I know your response is for Wicket, sorry to but in ;)

I am ready to do 1 of 2 things to hubby - :tape: or :brick:
Oh, absolutely that's a possibility! My husband didn't want to read or listen to anyone (except those with "quick fixes," i.e., shock collars). We went to a level one class and the trainer was very laid back and gentle with us. The trainer at the level two class was much more demanding and wasn't shy about giving corrections. We were both chastised several times, but I think some of it sank in with my husband. I'll hear him start to say "sit...sit...siiiiiiit" and then stop himself. :) Neither of us are perfect, but we're getting better.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
PS: cookie - great idea! BUT (always a but lol) Hubby thinks HE knows everything, he won't read or go for training. I know your response is for Wicket, sorry to but in ;)

I am ready to do 1 of 2 things to hubby - :tape: or :brick:
Oh gosh, my boyfriend is exactly like this. Boyfriend has 1 golden retriever growing up and he thinks he's the dog guru, LOL. I can tell you that golden retrievers are pretty easy to start with, his dad did a lot of the work, they weren't exactly "nice" to Maggie, and reality she actually isn't that well-trained at all and he and his family are delusional about how good of a job they did. He is completely blind to the fact that all the reason Wicket is pretty well-behaved was because of all the hard work I put into her. It's either he "trained" her or she trained herself and is a good dog to begin with, cut me right outta the equation >.<
 

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The only advice I have for you is don't have children with this guy because if he thinks "you're full of hot air" now he'll totally ignore you when it comes to disciplining the children. No kidding. He's not a keeper. LOL
 

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Man, try dealing with it in a kennel setting with dozens of people handling a dog through out a week. I have to constantly interrupt people who are just going "Sit. Sit. Sit. SIT. SIT SITSITSITSITSITSIT" at a poor dog that has never LEARNED sit in the first place.
 

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I can see how repeating a command and not showing the correct behavior can ruin it. I know when I'm training a dog, I say the command a million times. For example when I was teaching my own dog the Heel command, and I say it once, if he doesn't do it I show him what I want him to do while saying the command a million times, and when he knows what I want him to do, I reward it. He picked it up real fast.
I recommend just reteaching the commands, it won't take very long since your dog already has an idea of what to do but is just a little confused. Say the command, show her what you want(position her, etc), and reward. Do the process a million times until she knows what you want. I've noticed some dogs have the ability to understand what a command means coming from one person, and understand the command means something else for someone else, so it's not a big deal if your boyfriend is doing it wrong.
 

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If it helps, I do think that dogs learn how to be with different people. Mine recall nearly perfectly for me, pretty well for my husband, and always ignore my 17 year old. I think it's less harmful to contaminate a cue than it is to contaminate a relationship. My dogs know I am consistent and they are consistent with me. They navigate/negotiate their relationships with the other household members. If this man is your partner and he isn't likely to change, just work your relationship with your dog and let him do the same. You will get different results. I don't think another person can really contaminate cues FOR YOU. However, he can shred them for himself.

Dog are pretty saavy.
 

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I agree with trainingjunkie. I tell my dogs to sit, they sit. My brother tells them to sit, they often just ignore him. He'll do the "sit... sit... sit sit sit" thing and they'll just pretend they can't hear him, haha. But they still sit instantly for me. My mother often confuses "down" and "off," but my dogs still aren't confused by what I mean when I tell them to lie down or get off the couch. Just keep reinforcing the commands and I think Wicket will listen much better to you than she does to your husband. You could also try teaching hand signals along with the verbal commands -- most dogs obey hand signals better anyway, and your husband probably won't care to learn all of them.

That said, you can definitely teach multiple commands for the same behavior. Casper will come to "come" or "c'mere." He'll lie down to "down" or "relax." He'll offer a paw if I say "paw" or "touch." Dogs can learn a lot of words. :)
 

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My husband also doubts a lot of what I've only just learned myself about dog training.

I have noticed that when I say 'sit' the dogs sit. When he says "Sit. No. Siiiiit." They sit. So I second the idea that they learn different commands with different people.
 

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Have you thought about working with hand signals as well as words? Dogs are better at reading body language anyway. Using a signal with your chosen word might help solidify that word again & it will give you a second option for cueing the dog if the words do get muddled up again.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Have you thought about working with hand signals as well as words? Dogs are better at reading body language anyway. Using a signal with your chosen word might help solidify that word again & it will give you a second option for cueing the dog if the words do get muddled up again.
Wicket has hand signals to all her verbal cues, which she responds better to but they still get muddled. Boyfriend doesn't use the right hand signals for the verbal cues so the pup gets really confused as well. Another reason why her cues and signals are all jumbled and she doesn't bother responding to some because she has no clue what we want now.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks everyone for the advice. Wicket is not the brightest dog in the world so the responses to different people kinda isn't a thing with her. Maybe if she was wee bit smarter that would be the case, lol. Unfortunately, since a member of the family isn't consistent she kinda carries it over to everyone, but I've been working with my boyfriend and he's finally agreed to try to honor my training process. He's pretty forgetful so if he mucks up here and there it's attributed to that now. I can't believe how difficult it is to try to communicate with men.... or perhaps really headstrong people in general. I had to find a million ways of explaining it to him before he was able to understand. I also think since I left Wicket in the confusion instead of trying to retrain her right away he was able to see her responses go downhill for him. I guess some people need proof that they're destroying something o_O

On a good note, Wicket has finally mastered "Spin" both hand signal and verbal cue! I'm so proud of her :) However, now Wicket can't get enough of spinning, I've created a spinning monster, LOL. I guess she's also pretty excited that she can do something new. Now we're working on building a really solid "Leave it" recall combo, this one will probably take a lot longer to do >.<
 
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