Teaching Non-Verbal Commands…
This is not as difficult as you might think. Actually, verbal commands are much more complicated. Dogs learn from one another, not by verbals but body language. So why do we believe they NEED to learn verbal cues?
Hasna, our English Mastiff, passed away last fall, she had to be the most non-verbal, trained dog, I ever had the pleasure to train. Whistles or calling her once was about all, I needed to do in order to grab her attention. Once she was within sight, she watched my body, and I could get her to do just about anything, I asked of her; from sitting, laying down, walking to the door etc.. She was quite an amazing dog, and I miss her very much.
All of our Border Collies, have the non-verbals down from waiting to come inside, watching for me to give them the command to begin eating, walking into their kennels and much more. They will watch my face and move to my hands, legs etc.
Note: I don’t make them wait at each feeding but I definitely don’t slack off or else they’ll think, they can be rude and take over.
Now-how do I teach a 6 month old puppy? Catch and reward the action, and be prepared to reward it immediately, and repeat the action that was just performed with the verbal you typically use for the action, i.e., sit, wait, come and so on. Eventually, they will make the connection. Olivia, sits and waits at the door (bottom of the stairs), but she cannot run in front of me, until I give her the verbal, “Okay,” then she knows she can walk in. More often than not she does this sit, wait without my speaking it out, and yes she is very much rewarded for this, once she comes in and waits inside the door politely, and I give her a meaty treat, while I take her leash off.
I’m a runner and I tore ligaments in my right knee a few years back, and I can’t afford to let her run past me in case she tangles her leash around my legs or knocks me over.
I hope you, try this with your pooch, and let me know how this works for you. I love hearing from you all!
Happy Tails! 🐾