Every now and then, I meet pointing dog owners who don’t use WHOA as the command for their dogs to stop and stand still. They prefer HOLD, STAY or HUP instead. They further explain that they use NO to tell their dogs to stop an unwanted behavior and since WHOA sounds similar, they don’t want to confuse their dogs.
The theory is good and the explanation reasonable. The last thing pointing dog owners want to do is impart a negative association with birds. Even George Bird Evans, author, grouse hunter and breeder of the “Old Hemlock” line of setters, used HOLD for the same reason.
But I have another idea. Since the vast majority of owners use WHOA, choose another word—other than NO—to stop unwanted behavior.
Betsy and I like QUIT. A little wordier is STOP IT. Cesar Millan uses TSSSST.
Photo above by Chris Mathan, The Sportsman’s Cabinet.