What is a release word and how to use it

Using a Release Word

Benefit: Impulse control. The dog learns that they must remain doing their command, such as sit, until you say BREAK or their release word. This teaches your dog to focus and control their impulses around distractions or activities that are competing interests for your dog.

If you don’t have a release word then the dog will typically decide when they are done.

A release word is either a single words or sound that signal to your dog that they are free from the last cue/command that you have given them.

During a sit, down, stand, go to your place or bed is the easiest time to introduce your dog to their release word. You will ask your dog to hold a position, example it be a SIT you must follow that up by signalling to your dog when he can break out of that position with their release word.

You can release your dog by throwing a treat or toy on the ground, moving with the dog with enthusiasm so that your dog learns that the release word is to break the position.

It tells your dog that he can get up from a SIT, DOWN, PLACE etc and do whatever he wants until you give him another cue/command to do something else.

It is possible to have more than one release word.

Example your dog sits at a cross walk you may use LETS GO or LETS HEEL to cue your dog to leave the stay but start walking.

I use a few release words effectively

LETS GO - for walking

BREAK – for all duration stays of place, crate, waiting at thresholds

FIND IT – released to seek objects

GO SWIM – released to the water

Keeping a water dog out of the water is challenging like any threshold teaching your dog to sit and be released to the water can work on days that you don't want them in the water.

Common release words are OK, DONE, FREE or my favorite BREAK.

Create an expected behaviour - be consistent, be repetitive and be enthusiastic.

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