Very often we hear someone who is attempting to get her/his dog to sit – and not getting very far, using the PHRASE “can you sit?” or “are you going to sit?”. This is frustrating, because the dog eventually sits, but waits for several repeats of the phrase and an increasing volume of the voice, because the cue is unclear.
Dogs prefer LESS speech. The fewer words you use when communicating to them when training the better. Stick to one word cues. Make each cue clear – best to use sharp consonants. Make sure each behaviour has a different cue so the dog can’t confuse them.
To avoid increasing volume of voice, train each cue properly. Make sure to associate the cue with the hand signal at first – which starts out often as a lure. When the dog is doing the behaviour to a hand signal, add the verbal cue JUST BEFORE you do the hand signal. This way the dog can process both cues and will eventually be able to respond to the verbal cue only, after enough reps.
Dogs are amazing. They put up with our stupidity. Make it a bit easier for them.