When training our dogs, most owners will usually rely on the “traditional” commands of “Heel,” “Sit,” “Stay,” “Down,” and “Come.” However, that is simply for the ease of training, for trainers and owners alike.
I began training my dogs using odd commands, words that do not necessarily translate to the actual meaning that word is intended for. I do this for one simple reason; so that others cannot give my dog a command. I started this after having a few encounters out in public. Someone would stop and admire my dog. We would chat for a few moments, and then inevitably, they ask, “Can I pet your dog?” I answer yes, and soon enough, they start trying to give MY dog commands. WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?? They call out “Sit” and when MY dog fails to sit, they exclaim, “Well, she’s not very well trained.” I answer politely, that she is, in fact, very well trained, but she is not your dog, and you do not speak her language. Usually there is no response to this, and they quietly sulk away.
Now this does not imply to train your dog in a foreign language. Using a foreign language in dog training is becoming quite common now, that many people have learned those commands and can easily use them to control your dog.
What I do, is use odd words, that may not necessarily translate to the precise meaning of the chosen word. You are not training your dog to respond to the literal word and it’s meaning, but to the task that you want him to perform, when you utter this word or sound. I first started this years ago, when teaching basic obedience group classes. I told my students that they could choose ANY word that they wanted in place of those “traditional” commands, just choose words that were not commonly used in their daily lives. Personally, I do this just to keep others from trying to “control” my dog; not that they would have an ‘ice cube’s chance in hell’, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s very irresponsible, not to mention pretty entitled, of someone to try to give another person’s dog commands. What I do, is to use a variety of words or sounds, from 4-5 languages.
Fair warning if you decide to go this route, by keeping commands “private” if you will, no one else will be able to “control” your dog. So if you should have an accident, and need medical assistance, depending on your dog, emergency personnel may not be able to approach you, to render medical treatment. This ‘method’ does have it’s drawbacks, but then, so does owning a dog. You just need to establish your priorities, and decide what is important to you. I teach a few people in my circle how to work my dog, just in case of an emergency.