Using a Release Word



When working on STAY, its actually most important to focus on teaching your dog a Release Word.   Instead of working on how long you can get your dog to STAY, focus on teaching him when he has ‘permission to move’.   Once your dog understands that he has to wait for that magic word, it will be easier to build up longer STAYS.

The Release Word tells the dog that she no longer has to hold the position you put her in, whether it’s sit or down or heel. It is the command that gives you unquestioned leadership, since the dog cannot release itself. Once you have chosen the release word, it should stay consistent throughout the dog’s life.

We suggest you use a word that has no other connotations to it – “Release” is a very good one. Others are – “Dismissed,” “Go Play,” “At Ease,” “That’ll do.” “OK” is difficult — you should say the name first, to get the dog’s attention, and to differentiate that word from all the other times you say the word OK in conversation. Don’t use “Good Dog,” since you’ll be using that phrase to praise the dog.

Use the release word to literally release a dog from an exercise. Whether she’s watching you or on a sit or down, it works the same way. When you’ve decided the exercise is at an end, say the release word you have chosen, then step away from the dog, and invite her to take a break.

Teach your dog what the RELEASE WORD means:

  • Ask the dog to do something she knows how to do (maybe “sit”).
  • When she’s sitting, say your release word, and give her a treat.
  • Do that about 5 times, and she’ll begin to understand.
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