Notice the Nuances: Fine-Tuning Cues In Dog Training

Today, I want to chat about something near and dear to my heart and integral to our training methods here at Aly’s Puppy Bootcamp – the significance of cues in dog training. Now, you might be wondering, what exactly are cues, and why do they matter so much? Let’s dive in!

Cues are essentially signals or commands that we use to communicate with our beloved companions.

Cues can be be verbal, like saying “Sit” or “Stay,” or “Paws UP”, cues can also be physical, like a hand gesture. But here’s the crux of it: cues are the language through which we speak to our dogs. They are, in essence, strangers trying to understand and navigate an unfamiliar landscape. This is where the power of cues comes into play, acting as vital navigational tools in HUMANLAND.  In the featured picture you see Winston doing PAWS UP with a verbal cue from his owner!

Dogs are MASTERS of noticing nuance.  They are adept at reading very small things in you. Whether it’s a word, a gesture, a movement forward, or a movement backward, a foot pointed at them, a hand moving in an upward position, or a look, these cues cut through the confusion, offering clarity and guidance in a world that often makes little sense to our four-legged nuggets of love. Cues are the lighthouse guiding them through the fog of HUMANLAND. A dog’s understanding of these intimate communications helps to  bridge the gap between human and canine understanding, creating a shared language that fosters trust and mutual respect.

The same cue should always result in the same request from you, so the dog learns to associate that particular signal with a specific action.

This consistency helps in building the dog’s understanding and responsiveness. Cues evolve as your relationship grows with your dog.  Cues will grow more subtle through time, repetition, success and confidence.  For example, if at first you have to be extremely animated and low to the ground to get a dog to come to you eventually, you’ll achieve the same result with much less animation and motion. 

Why are cues so essential? Well, they bring order and predictability into our dogs’ lives. Imagine being in a foreign country without understanding the language. That’s how our dogs feel in our human-centric world. Cues help translate our expectations and rules, making the world less daunting for them. This clarity not only speeds up learning but also reduces anxiety and builds confidence. 

Moreover, cues are the foundation of safe, sane, and civilized behavior. They help us navigate everyday life with our dogs harmoniously. Whether it’s helping them to come to us when we call them or sitting or to lay down, cues are our tools for guiding our dogs through the complexities of what we are asking of them.  Remember they are strangers learning to navigate this world called HUMANLAND.  Good cueing helps them tremendously to learn what we mean. 

But here’s something I hold dear: training isn’t about imposing our will; it’s about empowerment for the dog to know what the right choice is.

By teaching cues to our canine companions, we are doing so much more than simply training them to obey commands; we are actively empowering them to make responsible, informed choices. This process involves more than mere instruction; it’s about preparation and setting clear expectations. Each time a dog learns to respond to a cue, they are not just obeying a command – they are learning to interpret and adapt to the diverse and often complex world around them.

This empowerment goes beyond the surface-level interaction. It plays a crucial role in the cognitive development of the dog, enhancing their ability to process information, anticipate actions, and respond appropriately to various situations. It’s a form of education that fosters mental agility and emotional resilience. Moreover, this training approach builds confidence in dogs. They gain a sense of achievement and self-assurance with every successfully executed cue. This confidence, in turn, leads to a more relaxed and content demeanor, reducing anxiety and behavioral issues.

At Aly’s Puppy Bootcamp, we’re not about ‘positive only’ or any one-size-fits-all method. We’re about finding the best tools and approaches that suit each unique dog and owner. Remember, every dog is an individual, and so is every human. Our goal is to tailor our training to match the needs of each dog and the skills of each owner, creating harmony and understanding on both ends of the leash.

Remember, our dogs thrive on clear, consistent communication. When we use cues effectively, we’re telling our dogs exactly what we expect of them. This clarity reduces confusion and stress for our dogs, making learning faster and more enjoyable.  Keep striving for that beautiful balance & clarity, and remember, the journey is as rewarding as the destination!

We go over the “Cues” extensively in Aly’s Insider Club! If you want access to Aly and the team…this is the place to be!  This format allows the team to support you best.

What you’ll get in our Private Aly’s Insider Club Facebook Group:

  • ONE new training video every month
  • Daily Support & Answers from the APBC Team on all your training questions
  • Access to our Private FB group where we are LIVE weekly with Q&A’s and we have real-time demonstrations with dogs covering hot topics.

Pin It on Pinterest