Consistency—doing things the same way every time—is very important. You may ﬁnd that the traditional words are easiest because you think of them ﬁrst. Also be careful about mixing cues.
For example, don’t tell your pet “sit down.” Most likely he will look confused, wondering what you want! It’s better to use just plain “sit” or just “down,” depending on which position you are actually looking for.
When giving cues, you should remember a few basic things. Don’t give your pet a cue if it isn’t paying attention –it won’t get you anywhere. If your pet isn’t looking at you, say his name ﬁrst to get his attention. Use a clear, upbeat voice, and make sure that your pet can hear you. But you don’t need to yell. Shouting will just make him feel like he has done something wrong, and he won’t want to work with you.
Try to stick to one- or two- words they are easier to say and remember. You can dress up some tricks by sticking your cue word into a sentence or question, but your pet needs to know only the one word that tells him what to do. Introduce your cue word only after your pet knows the behavior you are asking for.
Don’t ask your pet to do something in a situation where you can’t help him out if he doesn’t do it. For example, don’t call your pet to come if you can’t go and get him if he doesn’t come. This just shows him that he doesn’t have to do what you ask and will cause problems later on.
This sounds like a lot of “don’ts,” but they will help you and your pet to be successful tricksters.
One last thing to remember: Learning new skills takes time, so you will need to be very patient. Remember when you learned how to read? First you had to learn the alphabet, and then you moved on to small words and gradually to full sentences. All in all it took a lot of time and practice. Training your pet is just like learning to read. You will need to practice, practice, practice, and it will take a bit of time to sink in. Just be patient and keep at it, and eventually your hard work will pay off.