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"Cues" vs "Commands," Service Dog Style

A quick note -- the training string is hereby officially "full" -- I'll still go out and do an assessment for you, if you'd like, but it's going to be mid-June because I'll have availability to take on any more dogs!

So, things are busy and happy, with some fantastic dogs! Now, let's go ahead and talk about "cues" versus "commands." Let's talk about them "service dog style," because when you're talking training, service dogs are frequently the gold standard!

When you tell your dog to sit, do you A) Cue sit, or B) Command sit?

What's the difference?

I usually think of a command as a cue. Here's a young service dog working with me last week. He's being trained for autism work, and one of his main jobs is to seek out and provide comfort via leaning in/applying pressure to the handler to distract her from her behavioral melt-down and encouraging calming petting of the dog.

The video follows, and then I'll even tell you how I trained the dog to do that, but what I want you to think about is "Where's the command?"

An autistic child (or any child -- or, come to think of it, any adult) is not going to, in the midst of emotional melt-down, going to be able to rationally command the dog, "Come now to me for petting." No way! The emotional melt-down is the antithesis of rationality, and believe me, if the suffering child could verbalize a way to command or beg assistance of any kind he or she'd do it. But they can't. That's why they're melting down.

Enough chitter-chatter! Here's the video!

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