• Dexter Sim

Physical Versus Verbal Cues


With regards to Dog Training, what types of cues are informative and easy to understand?

In Dog Training, we are looking at simply 2 types of cues; Physical and Verbal Cues.

Physical Cues are non-verbal, body languages; body movement, hands, legs, hips, shoulders, toes, pointing, clapping, staring etc And the Verbal Cues are cues spoken by words, sounds, whistles, instrumental etc

Regardless of the dog sports discipline, you are working with, physical and verbal are the ways the animal learns, be it, in the form of verbal commands and/or physical signals and cues.

In this blog, I will focus on the Dog Obedience Training. Let's have a look at the Dog Training Life Cycle;

Acquisition Consistency Repetition Reinforcement Maintenance

Dog Training Life Cycle

Association/Acquisition This is the first step in dog training. I use Classical Conditioning to get my dog to associate the behaviour with a treat, toy or play. Once he understands the Dog Training System, I proceed to teach my dog to recognise the physical cue.

I.E. In learning a Sit Command, I will proceed to slide my hand with my palm facing the dog and move upward and lock my elbow just above his head. When he sits, C/T and repeat and C/T ...

Consistency In this stage, I focus on Physical cue and eventually move into Verbal cue. When my dog has a good understanding of the physical cue, I will progress onto the verbal cue.

I.E. Once I can manage 5 out of 5 for the Sits with the Physical cue, I can proceed to teach the verbal command. I will say Sit verbally and I follow through the physical cue, gets the behaviour and C/T.

Repetition Repetition comes in when I want to strengthen the behaviour in whatever situation and at whatever time and venue. This stage I focus on training my dog to be proficient in both physical and verbal cues and eventually moving into simultaneous commands.

I.E. At this stage I randomly use either the physical or verbal and when I get the sits behaviour, I will C/T.

Reinforcement Reinforcement stage is when I work on various schedules of reinforcement...

Maintenance In this last stage which is where proofing is all about. I work on the different schedules on reinforcement, switching in between my repertoire of reinforcements, be it food, toy, play, pet etc...

It's been a hot topic in many Dog Training Forums, discussing whether a Physical Cue or Verbal Cue is better and more effective. My take is the use both effectively to the best of our advantage.

Should you continue to work on the behaviours using the Dog Training Life Cycle, you will see great success.

Have fun & stay positive!

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