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A “cue” has a beginning and an end

When you would like a dog to “do” something you provide them with a “cue” such as “sit” or “come” or “down”.  “Cues” are sometimes referred to as “commands” or “requests”. I prefer the word “cue” because it takes the emotional component out. I do not have to worry if I am bossing the dog around or pleading if the dog would kindly fulfill my request.

I would like to draw attention to the fact that the “cue” has a beginning, a middle and an end. Very often the dog might have understood that for instance the cue “sit” means: “my butt hits the ground”. That is good. The missing piece of information however is: How long should the butt stay on the ground? A split second, an hour or a few minutes? If you do not teach the dog that whatever cue you give that particular cue is “good” until you cue to do something else or you release the dog from the current cue.

That is why it is important to teach the dog a release cue, such as “okay!” or “free!”. Then the dog learns that it is not over until the human says it is over. A small but important detail. So any “cue” is like a light switch: it is on until it is turned off!

“Aha” says the dog “I just had a light bulb moment!. Thank you. I love understanding what you mean!”

you are going to tell me when I can have the cookie, right?
you are going to tell me when I can have the cookie, right?



  1. How adorable! Such manners for Nono and Sia. Very creative on the adults end.

    Comment by karen on June 10, 2011 at 10:42 pm
  2. That is totally hilarious! Great job and really fun to watch!

    Comment by Fran on June 10, 2011 at 10:59 pm
  3. Actually my friend and website designer Kendra Dixson was the person who sent me the video. So 99% of the credit goes to her!

    Comment by Elisabeth on June 11, 2011 at 7:55 am
  4. Hee hee, well a good friend of mine forwarded it to me so the list goes on. I think it is so cute and I’m amazed at how well the dogs are behaved, although you do see a little help from the human hands so they don’t dive their noses into their dish. lol

    Comment by Kendra Dixson on June 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm
  5. yes the dogs are great! I also liked HOW they helped the dogs by pretending it was a human “putting your chin in your hands” gesture. It is most entertaining.

    Comment by Elisabeth Weiss on June 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm