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What Words to Use When Dog Training

Quick Training Tip: Choose Those Words Carefully

Hooray! You've stocked up on the small snacks, and you're ready to train away! Decide beforehand what command words you want to use. Even if your pup has been trained in the past, it doesn't hurt to give him a refresher. Keep it simple with basics such as "sit," "down," "stay," "drop it," "out," and "off." But research has indicated that an intelligent dog can develop a vocabulary of well over 50 words, so don't sell your pup short!

As a pet owner, you'll choose different trigger words and commands necessary to your life. If you live in a big city, training your pup with a trigger word to remind that it's not time to stop and greet every person you pass is a must. But if you live in an area where you seldom encounter people, that command is probably not at the top of your list. Similarly, training with "off" is a must if you've got a pup that inevitably tries to jump on favorite visitors for kisses. Remember training is an ongoing process, and voice commands should be chosen carefully — check out our tips when you


  • Words that end in a hard consonant (C, K, T, X) are better than those that end in a vowel because they have a hard finish and can be quickly and articulately spoken.
  • Keep your voice crisp and cheerful. Avoid acting like your dog has misbehaved while training.
  • Use short commands, preferably one syllable. Choose one word for each action and stay consistent. Say the word once to get the result. Repeating can be confusing for the dog, and can result in frustration. Your goal is to get your pup to associate that one word with the one duty instantly.
  • When teaching your pet to come, that command often needs more than one word associated with it. With new pups, say the dog's name to attract attention, issue the command (come), and then praise your pup so he knows he's not in trouble.
  • After your dog comes and does the tasks you have asked, use a finish command like "free" or "release."
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