What words & signals does your dog know?
One thing I am working on, personally, is adding clear verbal cues. My hands and body move wayyy too much, and that has meant that Modoc has at best been piecing together body language cues when I think I'm giving just verbals or at worst getting frustrated and giving up when given verbal cues because she has a history of being confused by them.
Some verbal cues with 99% correct response rate:
Breakfast, Dinner = stop whatever you're doing and run to your crate
Kennel = go to your crate
Take a break = lie down, rest
Go sniff = go sniff stuff
Drink water = drink water
Break = go to your food bowl and eat food out of the bowl
Open = catch a treat in your mouth
Catch = catch a toy in your mouth
Find it = search for a treat on the ground
Get it = bite toy in my hand
Scatter = stop what you are doing and eat this pile of treats on the ground
Yes/"Ch"/Click = food is coming to you
Inside = come inside from the yard
Around = go counterclockwise around me or an object
Go go go = run as fast as you can
Freeze = stop/stand from motion (unfortunately, it has become stop and face me, which has been difficult to undo, but that's a side note)
Center = stand between my legs facing forward
Go to your bed = go to your mat and lie down
Rise n shine = jump up onto the bed and wake up the human
Come = come in my general direction
Touch = touch your nose to my hand
Load = jump into car
Free = no reward, end of repetition marker
Some verbal cues she knows with over 50% correct response rate:
Sit = Sit (sometimes offers fold down, especially when excited)
Down/Settle = Slouchy down (sometimes doesn't perform the down when asked, seems like she knows what to do, but isn't motivated to do it)
Mat = go to mat and sit (same problem as as above)
Fold = fold down (sometimes offers play bow, not fully lying down)
Stand = stand (often takes a few steps forward when coming out of a down or a sit)
Walk = walk on my right side (same problem as down and mat)
Switch = drop the toy you have and bite the toy I have (doesn't always drop the toy she has if it is higher value)
Pounce = pounce on a toy on the ground (just started teaching this to her, but sometimes she just goes to the toy and doesn't pick it up)
Stay = stay in position until release (sometimes she sits if I say stay, I think because the words sound so close together)
Target = put two front paws on a target (she doesn't always put both front paws)
Paws up = put two front paws up on an object (sometimes she jumps up all the way)
Up = all four paws up on an object (sometimes she will jump up and then jump off, especially when we started working on a rebound)
Leave it = leave that thing you want (occasionally she goes for it anyway!)
Fetch = chase toy and bring it back to my hand (she doesn't always bring it back!)
Let's go = walk with while we both hold onto a toy (she sometimes likes to tug instead of walk with me)
Watch = give me eye contact (occasionally not done unless followed by hand signal)
Where's your ____ = go find the object I asked for (does well with the search, but occasionally doesn't grab the right object)
As you may notice, most of the verbal cues she knows best are markers for reinforcement procedures and the verbal cues she knows the least are cues to be in or go to certain positions (surely no coincidence there...). A lot of the cues she doesn't know extremely well were often conflated with hand signals or body language that I didn't realize I was giving. Now, we are going back to clean that up.
Hand signals/body language cues she knows the best:
Go to station
Clockwise = move clockwise around me or an object
Send out = run away from me (if no object is present) - or - run toward object
Tuck = tuck body under my legs while I'm seated in a chair
Paw = give me your paw, match to same side as my hand
Follow me = follow me as I walk backwards
I definitely found this exercise valuable!!! I also realized how much I talk to Mo, and how she has (smartly) tuned out most of what I say haha. I look forward to clearing up some of the ambiguity for her!
I love all the disclaimers. 😂 Also, I've never heard of someone having the same cue for around the human and around an object! That's interesting.
Hopefully you found this exercise valuable. There's also nothing inherently wrong with verbal cues only being understood in conjunction with certain context or body language signals - as long as you are aware that that's what's going on!
I definitely relate to over-assuming what your dog knows and confusing/frustrating them, with verbal cues especially. I used to have a really really bad problem that was uhmmm essentially screaming matches between Mars and I for this exact reason. (Poor Mars, my test dog.) It can be fixed!