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Words Matter in Dog Training



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Today, Stacy, Robin, and Crystal discuss why the words you choose when training your dog are so important to your success as a handler.


Words matter not only to encourage the behaviors that you want your dog to display, but also to eliminate scope creep in training. Additionally, the length of the word or phrase matters, particularly when they are being used as conditioned reinforcers (It’s hard to say long phrases when out of breath or in a hurried situation).


Aside from choosing your words carefully when speaking with or training your dog, words also matter when getting clear on your role as a trainer or handler, as well as how you communicate with fellow K9 professionals. As a leader, every word and phrase counts when it comes to motivating, educating, or empowering another—whether they be an animal or human being!


Listen in as our hosts dive deep into using the power of words to fill our gaps and bring out the best in ourselves, our furry friends, and the men and women we teach!


Key Topics:

  • Why you need to define the exact behavior you’re looking for (02:15)

  • Using a word as a conditioned reinforcer (07:11)

  • Words as criteria (11:33)

  • It’s not just the word, but also the movement (14:10)

  • Are you asking, cueing, or demanding? (15:39)

  • Why the labels you give other professionals have an impact (21:59)

  • Dog trainer versus canine handler versus instructor (24:04)

  • Being consistent about your word choices (27:05)

  • How you phrase your compliment makes a big difference in future performance (35:06)

  • Defining yourself (39:02)

  • Creating a safe space for feedback (44:12)

  • Getting clear on your gaps as a trainer (50:12) Why the labels we use for our dogs matter (52:47)

  • Our final thoughts (55:25)


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