The Most Dangerous Phrase in the English Language is…..

Old school dog training uses the word commands when discussing basic skills like sit, stay, wait ect.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word command means:

“Authoritative order”

“Control, restrain over”


And the understanding of commands is related back to military uses of the word and how command is operationally defined.

When you read these definitions, how do you feel?

What comes up for your when you hear or read the word command?

For me, I feel constricted and see it as a top down approach.

It denotes an all or nothing mentality.

It evokes the need to micromanage.

Going one step further, when the “command” isn’t followed, what happens next?

Pain in order to get compliance, that’s what happens next.

Now, how does that feel to you?

Commands aren’t about freedom for you or your dog.

Your expectations get wrapped up in what your dog does and when that doesn’t happen because it will, you become frustrated and you’re tied up in the outcome.

You begin to constrict more and more of your dog’s freedom because of the failure of compliance and you also micromanage yourself too.

What if you considered shifting the word choice to something like cue, signal or ask to expand your perspective.

Just because it’s always been done this way, doesn’t mean you have to be boxed into doing it too.

According to Mark Cuban, “Wherever I see people doing something the way it’s always been done, the way it’s ‘supposed’ to be done, following the same old trends, well, that’s just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.”

Changing the word you used gives you choice because you recognize you don’t have to do things that have been part of the dog training culture.

The impact you have when you can make a different choice is clear.

Freedom comes from choosing differently based on what you value and what you want more of in your life with your dog.

The simplicity of choosing a different way to describe what you’re wanting your dog to do is no longer about control, but bringing the power back to you of what you want to achieve.

When you make a change in choosing a different word to describe what you are doing and teaching, you start creating more freedom in your life.

Granting choice and guiding your dog to make the choice that is the safest and the most pleasurable for both of you creates the space for you to:

Enjoy daily walks.

Entertain friends and family at your house.

Feeling secure your dog is safe when he is left home alone.

Taking the simplest of action towards what you want, you start changing your life and you and your dog receive much more than just learning what a word means.

You start experiencing the joy of building a relationship with your companion.

Are you willing to try something new?

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

2 thoughts on “The Most Dangerous Phrase in the English Language is…..

  1. Thanks and I couldn’t agree more. I talk to my dog(s) all the time. I always have and the more I read and/or learn these days, I’m really glad I do. I recently learned that by talking and telling her what I’m doing, she learns to associate certain words with things. I even finally got it through my husband’s head that he only needs to ask her in a normal voice.

    Chris Penn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brilliant! Dogs are so smart and for sure learn word associations. I love that you talk to your dogs and ask them what do they want to do. The ripples of sharing this with others is awesome! Great your husband is open in learning to do some things differently too. Love all of this!


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