Play & All Done - How to teach your dog to talk with buttons
Chances are, your dog already understands the concept of "play." In fact, it's probably one of their favorite concepts! They get to be with their favorite human, they get to explore, and they get to have fun.
"All done" is a good word to teach alongside "play," at first understood by your dog as its 'opposite.' Since "play" is such a frequent activity, it gives you the opportunity to reinforce "all done" many times in a short time span.
Play: How can my dog understand?
Much like human children, dogs get a grasp on language by seeing it modeled by those around them, and having the association reinforced. And it's likely some of this association has already taken place.
When you say "you wanna play?", does your dog light up with excitement? If so, just make sure to also press the "play" button every time.
For your dog, "play" might translate to a few things. It might mean it's time to get out a toy, and play indoors with it. Maybe it'll mean it's time to play tug-of-war, or fetch. Whatever "play" means to them, press it whenever their idea of "play" is about to take place.
Play: How can I teach my dog?
- Always play with them after they push the button
- Push the "play" button whenever either of you initiates play
- Press the "play" button when they're playing together with other pets
- Toss them a toy, and press the "play" button
- Press the "play" button before giving them access to their toy box
- Keep their favorite toy visible but out of reach, incentivizing them to use the "play" button when they want it.
- While you're playing with them, start ignoring them all of a sudden, and maybe pretend to bury yourself in your phone. See if they'll press the "play" button to get your attention back.
All Done: How does my dog understand?
"All done" is an incredibly versatile phrase, providing a way to mark that something has ended. Use it when you're all done playing, and your dog will come to see it as a sort of 'opposite' to "play."
Eventually, your dog should understand it to mean that a specific activity has ended, like playing, eating, or being outside. Whenever an activity they're familiar with has ended, you can combine words. For example, "play all done," or "outside all done."
Don't worry if your dog uses the word "all done" as a way to say "no." This is actually indicative of a comprehensive understanding of the word.
All Done: How can I teach my dog?
- Press the "all done" button before stopping a play session
- Press the "all done" button when there's no more food left in their bowl to eat.
- Press the "all done" button if your dog asks to play or go outside minutes or hours after you've just obliged them. It can help to combine words: "all done outside," "all done play."