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Create a dog training cue - a summertime example

I was walking my dogs this morning and realized that I use a cue all the time that you might want to use with your dogs. What is the cue? “Flowers”.

What could “Flowers” possibly be used for? I use it to tell my dogs not to urinate on a specific location. I see the remnants of so many irresponsible dog guardians that don't pick up after their pets that I am hyper-sensitive to making sure that people know that most people are responsible and don't leave a mess. Many people spend a lot of time and money making their gardens attractive and I don't blame them for being upset when people allow their dogs to mark them.

To teach this cue, use the same principles as you would to teach any cue. Gently prevent your dog from doing the inappropriate behavior, say the cue one time, guide your dog into the correct position and reward.

You could use another cue such as, “Let’s Go” which generally means to keep moving. But, I see this cue as a bit different because it also means not to urinate.

How to teach “Flowers”

  1. Practice first before your dog is urinating.
  2. Say, “Flowers” one time and then guide your dog forward a few feet and then give a reward
  3. Once your dog is reliably doing the behavior, you can start using it when he starts to urinate
  4. If you are consistent, your dog can learn where it is not appropriate to urinate

Troubleshooting

  1. Make sure you say the cue one time and then gently guide your dog away from the flowers and give a tasty reward
  2. Scan the environment in front of you so you are prepared to give the cue as soon as your dog gives an indication that he has chosen an inappropriate spot
  3. If your dog does not react really quickly, you can start running after saying, “Flowers” and gently guide your dog to follow you. This will motivate your dog to move quickly after hearing the cue.
This is just one example of how to teach a dog a new cue. The possibilities for creating useful cues in dog training are endless. I would like to hear what cues you have created with your dog!
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