Would you like your puppy to sit quietly at the door when you open it? Would you like your puppy to wait patiently for his dinner while you prepare it? Before you teach your puppy “stay” or ‘wait”, you should teach him a release word. A release word is permission. For example, permission for puppy to get up from a stay or permission for puppy to go through the door. Many people use “ok” for a release word. “Okay” is not a great choice. It is a very common word, frequently used in every day language. You might accidentally release your pooch when you did not intend to do so. Each of my dogs’ has a different release word. Frolic, my border collie, uses a word I borrowed from world champion agility competitor Susan Garrett. Frolic’s release word is “break”. Taz’s release word is “pop”. Many German shepherd owners train their dogs using conventional German words. The release word they often use is “free”. Have you picked out your dog’s release word?
Many people use a release word, but you must teach your puppy what the release word means. If your dog almost always moves when he hears his release word, he understands. To teach your puppy a release word, you will need some treats. Ask your puppy to sit or lie down. Give the cue only once (“sit” or “down”), and wait for puppy to comply. Give your brilliant pooch a treat while they are sitting or lying down. It is time for the release word. If you are moving the treat, even a little bit, puppy will not be able to concentrate on your words. Be very still, and say your release word. Of course, puppy has no idea what that noise means. That’s ok. Wait one brief second while you are still, and then toss a treat.
Throwing a treat on the ground will be a surprise and your puppy may be unprepared. Show the puppy the treat, then slowly, very slowly, toss the treat on the ground. Puppy will jump for joy as he runs to get the treat. Repeat the above exercise. Checking to make sure you are very still, say your puppy’s release word. Freeze in place for a brief moment, then, carefully showing the puppy the treat, toss the treat on the floor. Continue to practice daily. Your puppy will begin to anticipate the thrown treat, and he will move when you say his release word.
Once your puppy has learned his release word, he is ready to learn to stay, or to wait for permission to go through a door. Happy Training!
Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed
DogS Gone Good