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Teaching your dog a release command

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Teach your dog a release command
Photo: Dogs waiting to be released from sitting

When you give a command to your dog, you need to have a release word that you say to them so they know the exercise is finished.

Choose your own release word and stick to it. Some people use “yes”, "ok" or “free”. Shorter words or phrases are better for commands, you could use “nice”, “hooray”, “done”, “release”.  For my release command, I use "ok" as this came naturally to me, some people say "ok" is not the best choice as it is used frequently in general conversation. "good boy" or "good girl" is something that I avoid as I use this for praising which is not the same.

The release command will be something that you say naturally and you will need it for further basic commands. It should be taught just before or in conjunction with Sit, Wait and Stay, as you should use a release command to let them know the exercise has finished.

If your dog is food orientated a good way to teach the release command is to put their dinner bowl down on the ground, say your dogs name and tell them to wait. Make them wait until you give your release command, which allows your dog to start eating. If they don’t wait, pick the food bowl up and repeat. They will very quickly learn to wait for your release command.

You can also train the release command by having your dog wait at an open door and not let them go out until you have given them the release command.

You need to be careful not to use the release word of your choice frivolously, it should only be used for it’s purpose.