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Teaching Your Dog the Release Command

Dog Talk

Release means “Okay, you're done now.”

Your dog needs a beginning and an end to every command. The beginning is his name, as in “Fido, Sit.” This is another reason why, at the beginning of this chapter, I suggested you use his name to stimulate his interest. However, your dog also needs to know when each exercise or trick is completed, and the Release command will do that.

You can introduce this as you teach your dog the Sit command.

  1. With your dog in a Sit, after you have rewarded him for Sitting, tell him, “Release!” in a conversational tone of voice (rather than in the higher-pitched tone of voice used for praise).
  2. Back away from your dog and lift your hands in the air. He should follow you; when he does, praise him, “Good boy!”
  3. If he's hesitant to move, use his leash to gently pull him from position to show him he's allowed to move. When he takes a step, praise him.
  4. After the Release, let him move around and relax for a few seconds before asking him to do anything else.

After he knows the Release and is moving on his own, use it at the end of every obedience command and trick. Using his name at the beginning and the Release at the end gives the dog clear guidance of the parameters of each command and trick.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dog Tricks 2005 by Liz Palika. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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