By Deb Winkler, July 15, 2016
People consider this one of the most difficult things to teach their dogs, but we strive to make it easier.
Always remember that you are competing with the environment for your dogs’ attention. One of my dogs finds squirrels very interesting and another gets stuck on ground scents. One of my dogs is reluctant to move after finding a spot in the sun to rest. Still another one is losing her hearing.
Dogs are social creatures just like us and establishing a good trusting relationship goes a long way in creating a desire in your dog to be with you. This means teaching what you want and setting the dog up for success instead of using corrections. This can be as simple as providing things to chew and rotating them to be interesting in lieu of punishing the dog for chewing other things and teaching your dog to roll over for visitors instead of correcting the dog for jumping. These are easy ways to create trust and build a relationship with your dog.
I never chase my dogs and encourage them to chase me instead. I use a verbal cue which cues them to chase me and after a minutes chase I give food rewards-either treats, stuffed Kongs or stuffed marrowbones. They have learned that following me quickly pays off.
When my dogs are facing me I back up, calling them to come and touch the back of my hand. This pays off well too, with treats, toys, belly rubs and other good things.
Whenever my dogs happen to approach me for whatever reason, I always take the time to reward in some manner that I know they will find enjoyable.
I practice calling them and hide and really reward when they find me. I also call them when I am showering, checking email, watching TV or speaking on the phone. Occasionally I call them to come when they are eating or sleeping and provide powerful rewards for that.
Basically I have not only created a desire in my dogs to come when I call, but also and more importantly created a desire to actually want be called to come and you can’t go wrong with that!