So, I was thinking about the release cue, “break” yesterday. I never realized how much I really like it. I really noticed it Wednesday night when the couple with the yellow lab, Zoey? The doctor guy with the good tricks, while they were working on stuff before we
got started, and during the sit off. I should have said something, but I was stupid and didn’t have a fluent thought process all day…
With most people and pups that we’ve seen, you (the proverbial you) give the cue, they do the behavior, they get the treat, then they’re off and running right after they eat the treat. For example say you are working sits in class. you say “sit”, the dog sits, you mark “yes”, then give a treat, and the dog stands up disconnects from the handler and gets lost in the commotion of the puppy class…
With break, it was “sit”, the dogs sits, you mark, give treat, then “break”, then the dog either did one of two things. 1) shot up and immediately disconnected with the handler as without break. or 2) shot
up and checked with the handler for either praise or the next cue.
Of course these are just puppies and holding a person’s attention in a classroom with 15 other people and 8 other dogs is hard, but for a puppy its near impossible… but with break you did get that 2nd
response every once in a while, which is better than never. I guess making it a quasi-habit while they are pups, so it becomes a more full blown habit as adults when they are less reactive to the world around them.
With Zoey (that’s her name now if it wasn’t before) during the sit-off, the man would use “break”, and momentarily have his dogs attention after “break”, then loose it as HE disconnected with his dog, and started watching everyone else in the room. Had he praised his dog a little afterwords and stayed connected either through eye contact, or another cue, that dog would not have had any idea there
was anyone else in the room.
That’s the type of attention I like to see between handler and pup.
I feel like when most puppy people are using “break” in class, they say it and its just blah… and the dog slowly lumbers out of the crate, or slowly stands up from a down…
So, my solution to get more people to use “break” to get that built in stay with ANY command? Say “break” with a quiet body, then when the pup releases from the behavior, act a damn fool and get your puppy excited. And I mean a damn fool… No, you won’t have to do it forever, but at least when starting out make it so that you are so interesting, that every other dog in the room with a lame-ass owner wants to come play with you. After they get the idea, and we introduce tug, you can back off the goofiness a little so that if you ever are in public with your dog you don’t look like you should be wearing a helmet and a leash (for those self-conscious dog trainers).
Point is, I really liked Zoey’s humans using break. I really liked the response I started seeing her give to it.
…and I want more goofy people walking the streets of the world…