Thursday, 26 January 2012

Notes on the command 'Back'

I was puzzled by this one at first. Why 'Back', I asked? Well, it needs to be considered alongside the command 'Come'.

When you command your trained dog to 'Come', you expect it to willingly come running straight to you, but what do you say you want him to run away from you? That's when 'Back' is used. One could as easily use the word 'Away' or anything else that's appropriate, but in Gun Dog circles round these parts it's usually 'Back'.

You can see why one experienced handler took me to task when I first arrived at Gun Dog training. When Uly pulled ahead on the lead I would sometimes exasperatedly command him 'Get back!' (meaning come to heel). It's easy to confuse a dog so I was very grateful to be put straight. 

Remember: 'Back!' to go. 'Come!' to return.

Should you use your dog's name in the command? Well, it seems to be a matter of personal choice (though one trainer was dead against using dog's names in commands). "Poppy, back!" or just 'Back!"? It seems to be up to you but I can't really see any advantage in lengthening a command more than needed, so in this instance, I aim not to use my dog's name.

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