This is actually a pretty big controversy, but most owners say, “No.” Even professional trainers and dog show participants will tell a new dog owner to never repeat a command, but why is this? Why is it so bad to repeat a command to a dog? Many of us have seen the dog that doesn’t listen until it’s told 7 times to do something.
This is because its owner has inadvertently taught the dog a bad habit, and that habit is to stall for time. If an owner tells a dog to perform a behavior, such as “down,” but the dog does not listen, so the owner repeats the command, then rewards once the command is performed, that owner just accidentally taught their dog that stalling is okay. It becomes a learned habit, and once it is learned, it can be very hard to break.
Dogs tend to resist our commands at first. If one teaches their dog to not listen the first time from the very start, then they are only making the problem worse. Dogs that take a more dominating stance may not want to obey because they feel like they are no longer in charge. A submissive dog may not listen because they feel that the command is unsafe or fear making a mistake.
Therefore, plenty of reward and praise must be involved in training a dog, along with only saying a command once. You must make following the commands a fun and rewarding experience. After you have taught your pooch the basics, take him/her to a quiet area where you know they can hear you.
Cue whatever command you are working on; and if he/she doesn’t listen, go back to basics. Avoiding mistakes, such as giving commands multiple times, or making the behavior seem boring and unrewarding. Remember, you only say the cue once, and it must be fun and rewarding once the action is performed. This generally gets even the most hardheaded pooches to listen the first few times, and from there you just work your way up!