Teaching a Release Cue




Something that is really useful to teach your dog is a release cue. This is a short word, sound or signal that lets your dog know that the task they are doing is finished and they can do something else.

You can use it to let your dog know they can move out of position, go through a door they’ve been waiting at, say hello to friends, have their food or go sniff and explore on a walk.

One way to teach it involves asking your dog to do a position they know really well, like sit or down. After they’ve been in position for a couple of seconds, say your chosen release cue, such as ‘ok’ or ‘free’ and immediately cue them to ‘get’ and toss a treat away for them to chase.

You want to make sure your dog hears the release word before the ‘get’ cue. As you practice, start to delay the prompt to ‘get’ by a second or two, to give your dog time to think. In time your dog will start to associate the 2 words and get up when you say their release, before you prompt them to ‘get’!

When this happens, celebrate and reward your dog enthusiastically!

From here on say only the release cue and wait for your dog to move, before marking and rewarding.

You can proof your dog’s release word by adding in distractions and rewarding your dog if they don’t move when you haven’t said their release cue. Also practice saying words that don’t mean anything to your dog and reward them for staying still until you say the release cue.

Practice until your dog is brilliant at holding their positions or waiting in different situations until you release them.

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