Friday, December 9, 2016

Dog time: teach a dog to "come" on command

I haven't written about dog training for a while. Mostly because I figure people wouldn't be too interested in it.

I am on Phase 4 in my dog training (CATCH online School) and finally am starting to do some hands-on work. My goal is to finish this--finish!--and accomplish what I've set out to do. I am notorious for not finishing what I've started.

This past month I've started volunteering with Max, at a veterinarian clinic that also boards dogs. We go about three times a week to play with the dogs that are shut in kennels. It's been great experience for me and even though there are days that I dread going (just don't feel like I have time for it), I'm always glad that I went because I'm getting a little hands-on experience early which will make it easier for me to dive into training.

That said, for those who have dogs, I thought I would offer a few tips every so often. My dog already knows most of his commands--but does he always obey? No, of course not. I've learned that this is the case for many dog owners--their dogs initially were taught to come, sit, go down, and so on, but over time, they lose their "obedience" or desire to listen. This is because they are not being rewarded enough. If your dog already knows the command "Come" but only comes maybe half the time, ramp up his desire by surprising him with a treat! Do this every so often, but not all the time, so that he doesn't come just for treats. He should never know when a treat is coming or if it's praise. If you are rewarding with praise, make sure you make it worth it!

For teaching a dog "Come" for the first time, here is a very easy and effective way to teach!

Gather some yummy dog treats, and make it good. Something like cut up chicken or beef. Don't worry about giving too much--this is what you want!

Keep a handful of the yummy treats behind your back and call your dog in a very excited way (some people say to make a noise or trilling sound to get your dogs attention). When he comes, give him the "jackpot" of dog treats! The whole thing! If he's on a diet, you're out of luck!

Keep playing this fun "Come" game, and jackpot him generously with a handful of treats each time. Pretty soon, over time and once your dog is coming every time you call him, start reducing the treats until you are giving him only one. Eventually, fade out the treats altogether but reward him generously for praise.

And that is how you teach your dog to come!

Next post: a new couch!

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