Competition Commands and Behaviors VS Everyday Commands and Behaviors


Competition Commands and Behaviors VS Everyday Commands and Behaviors

This is a question I have been recently asked but over the course of 20 years have been asked hundreds of times. It is a good question. 

For those of you that do competitive training, you already know that most behaviors need not be reproduced in everyday practical environments.  And honestly they should not be, if you want to keep the integrity of the behavior for points in competition. An example of that would be, If you train a really fast, speedy folding down in motion, that behavior must be managed and maintained 100% of the time. Which also means if you ask the dog to do it, YOU are responsible for rewarding or correcting it, and being consistent 100% of the time.  Some people train an informal"settle" command behavior. Normally that means the dog can lay down on its side and it is not imperative how quickly the dog responds.. This is just an example. But since the criteria is so high for my dogs in the competition field and in training, I tend to keep my interactions with them off the field pretty laid back. 

Personally I keep things quite easy for my dogs when we are not working. I don't talk a lot to them outside of some silly talk, and normally I don't give them many commands outside of "come here" or lay down or a simple "place" command.  Honestly I have to admit, my dogs are rarely on a leash unless traveling. And when we are, the dog is normally on a flexi leash going to the bathroom, or off lead in a controlled area. I don't ask my dogs to heel or anything when they are in a social setting. This does NOT mean they are out of control and acting foolish. They can all walk calmly on a leash in public. It does not matter what side of me they are on and most time they are walking in front of me on the leash. Now there are many great trainers who have a whole set of commands for normal every day life. I personally don't have the time for that and don't feel like micro managing them 100% of the time since that is a lot to ask of a high level dog. I also don't want to damage the integrity of my competitive training by giving commands I am not ready to reinforce. Plus for me any way...not constantly talking to the dogs every minute of their lives, makes them much more in tune to me when I am training or competing. In short there are different ways to deal with this. But in my world I prefer the KISS rule, "keep it simple stupid".

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