Words manipulate and create images in our minds that influence our ways of thinking.
So what does command mean? Well, we get a really quick answer when we use Google Image Search. When ordered, it immediately catches the eye that it is primarily about unconditional obedience, the imperial period or the time of the Second World War. At command you only see pictures of soldiers and weapons, so it has something to do with the military.
What kind of thinking do these images create in our heads?
Well, first of all, maybe next to a slight discomfort with one or the other, the feeling here is unconditional obedience! In addition, hierarchy or command structure. So from “top” to “bottom” and the last in line is the poor sow, who is not allowed to think anymore.
If the order or command is not immediately followed unconditionally, disciplinary measures are inevitable – in German: punishment.
For me, the most harmless thing in the military was cleaning latrines. In earlier times or in times of war, the refusal to give orders also often meant death. In professional life, it is the warning or dismissal.
What does this mean for the dog’s upbringing?
If I give the dogs a command and they don’t do it, I have to punish them. Unfortunately there are now many dog trainers who propagate exactly this: “Show the dog that you are the pack leader (Emperor, General, Chef) and if he does not parry, add a penalty.”
Then means pushing or pushing, nudging, beating or – as we know – in individual cases even choking, hanging up or being subjected to electric shocks.
Does the dog follow the command better now?
Yes, initially because he is afraid.
Will it stay that way?
Yes, when I broke the dog and he resigned, he learned to be helpless.
With all dogs?
No, because many start to fight back and then they can become a biter. The trigger here is always fear. The dog was conditioned: if I react aggressively immediately, the other person (person or dog) shrinks and increases the distance. Only then no one will see the trigger fear …
At the latest here everyone should have noticed that I am not a friend of commands or commands. I give signals to my dogs.
Do I also want my dogs to carry out the signals?
Yes, of course I want that.
Do I punish you if you don’t execute the signal?
Yes, sometimes, it depends on the situation. But the worst punishment my dogs know is that I just hold them and / or they don’t get a reward.
And why do I only punish her sometimes?
First I think about why the signal was NOT followed!
I have learned that I have either not adequately or improperly trained and above all that there are situations in which the dog simply CANNOT carry out the signal I gave him!
Let’s fix that to the most popular signal that is first taught in every dog school, is part of the “basic obedience” and is used by many dog owners to show how well they have their “dangerous beast” under control:
The “seat” signal
I’m a bit heretical now and claim that this is the most superfluous signal. (Before someone attacked me now, I also taught my dogs the “seat”).
But think about it: Would you sit somewhere in the dirt with your bare bottom or even get wet, on snow or ice?
If the dog should stop on the street, would a signal “stand” not be more appropriate?
“Yes, but the dog relaxes when he sits.”
Is he really doing this? One or the other maybe, but watch him closely: is his body weight in the middle or is the dog facing forward or backward, are his ears relaxed or facing forward or backward? Is the rod stiff and straight or is it sitting on the rod? Does he tongue with short, quick and straight movements of the tongue or does he pant with a wide, clearly visible tongue?
If the dog wants to go after a sighted deer, it does not relax in the “seat”!
If the dog is under a high level of stress, there are a lot of better alternatives than “sitting” of all things to help him relax.
Is the dog old or maybe not quite healthy? Then the “seat” may cause him pain and he therefore does not want to sit down.
Relaxed dogs often offer the “seat” on their own without being asked to do so.
So if I insisted on executing these signals, I would have to punish my dog for a mistake I made!
For me, training means making it as comfortable as possible for the dog to live with me. This also makes life with the dog pleasant. The more relaxed the dog, the more relaxed I am, we trust each other.
I do not achieve this with orders and unconditional obedience, but with motivation and the fun that the dog has in its work. And sometimes I even get the impression that when I gave such a nonsensical signal, they look at me and then I see the question: “What the hell is that?”