This is the week we use games to teach your dog to LOVE coming to you! You are still working inside.
This exercise consists of two games.
Let’s think for a moment. What would your dog think would be a great way to teach him the “come” command? Playtime is a great opportunity for training. For this game, you will need those “special” treats, your dog’s lead and some sort of dog toy. The object is to play with your dog and then call him away from the game he is playing. To be able to do this you will have needed to practice exercises 1 & 2 over the past two weeks. (If you weren’t able to, then go back to where you stopped practicing and work there for this week).
When you implement this game, wait a few minutes while your dog is playing fetch … and while his leash is dragging, say in a really happy voice: “Buddy, come!”. If he doesn’t come, step on the end of the lead and place the treat in front of his nose and say it again, but this time hold onto the lead and walk backwards a few feet. Every step he takes towards you and away from the game, praise him.
Now, this is the other important part, after he has come to you, Release him BACK into playing whatever game he left to come to you. This game uses the playtime as a natural reinforcer for your dog coming to you! (By release we mean say O.K to your dog and lead him back to playing. See week 4). Repeat this game until your dog comes to you the first time.
This next game requires two people. Recruit a next door neighbor. You and the other person should take a pocket full of the “special “ treats and sit down 15-20 feet apart from each other. One person should gently restrain your dog while the other gets him really excited. “Hey, Buddy!!, look what I have …Yummy! After the “caller” gets the dog’s attention, they will give the command: “ Buddy, come!” At the same time, the other person should let go of the dog. The caller should praise the dog each time the dog takes a bounding leap towards them. Once the dog reaches the caller, they get a treat! This sequence should be followed back and forth for several calls.
- Ignore poor responses… do not correct them.
- Be generous on the treats that you give.
- Be exuberant with your praise.