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Repeating Command Debate


Some trainers will tell you to repeat the command and others say you should only say it once. Why is that?


No Repeat Ideology


The trainers that tell you not to repeat a command are more importantly saying “Don’t repeat a command and not make the dog follow through”.


Example:


Let’s say a person told their dog to sit. They may say “sit, sit, sit, oh whatever.” and then not make the dog sit.


That is where the issue would come in. Same would go if a person called their dog back to them a bunch of times and never made the dog follow through.


What Works


We have found that you can indeed repeat a command so long as you make the dog follow through. When we have done training this way, every dog would learn to follow through on the command after saying it only once a little ways into training.


You may think the Core Rule: Training Every Second may apply where if you repeat the command many times, the dog will only do the command if you repeat it many times. This doesn’t seem to hold true.


Dog is an ESL Student (English is their Second Language)


Have you ever heard a word in a different language and tried to learn that word? If you are like me, I sometimes have to hear and say that word a few dozen times for it to stick. If we are considered a highly intelligent verbal species and we need to hear a new word dozens of times to understand it, then we may expect a dog that is not a verbal species also needs to hear the verbal command many times.



Example:


When we train a dog to follow during Recall exercises, we use the command “this way”. We will say “this way” and then tug the rope. If the dog doesn’t follow we then again say “this way” and tug the rope and repeat until the dog follows. Pretty soon the dog makes the connection and understands when you say “this way” you want them to follow you and if they don’t you will keep tugging until they do. Following this method, every dog we have ever worked with would eventually learn to follow with just one verbal command (some may need a higher consequence than just a tug however depending on Dog Type and Distraction Level).