Read Front and Finish magazine in her hotel room, of course! Okay, so that's what I did. Oh, and I got to bed early. With a full time job and a pre-schooler, I miss sleep. Sweet sleep. But I digress.
One of the articles I read (written by Kathy Lang) was about being clear and consistent about what you expect of your dog. I am really trying to be the best handler and trainer I can. I get that using the same command for different behaviors, or a different command for the same behavior, is confusing. I thought I was being consistent. Until I started to do the exercise listed in the article.
This exercise involves of writing down every command (hand signals, verbal, etc.) that you use, or intend to use, with your dog AND writing down what you want this command to mean. Since I had some time on my hands, and my laptop, I started a spreadsheet (I'm a bit addicted to Excel) with each of the commands I use with Ziggy. I included "around the house" commands like "leave the kitty" and obedience, rally, and agility commands. Then I started to add some definitions.
I'm not done with the list yet (I'm up to 75-ish commands), but I can already see some areas of inconsistency/overlaps in commands that I'll need to fix. If I can figure out how to attach a pdf to my blog, I'll post the list when I'm finished and have cleared up the overlaps.
This one's really got me thinking, though. I need to clean up my act....