Getting your dog to come to you may seem to be an easy task under dog obedience training. And most of the time this comes as the first training you do with your dog.
While it is true that most dogs will come when called, a major concern is that over time, dogs tend to not heed your call anymore.
While the training is there, and your dog knows his name and can indeed hear you calling, there are other considerations involved that make your dog at times purposely ignore your call.
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And believe it or not, your relationship with your dog plays and his emotions towards you plays a role in getting him to follow this simple and basic command.
In cases of emergency, it is especially important that your dog heeds your call. At all other times, it is rewarding and further strengthens your bond when you know your dog will come to you and hear you each time you call.
Whether your dog listens to you before and just stopped, or if this is the first time you will train him, you can still teach your dog this skill that is both basic yet important.
Step 1 : Put your call in a positive context
In having your dog come to you when you call, dogs seem to read through the context of your call. This may mean how your dog responds would reflect his feelings towards you.
Recall the times when you called your dog – was it because he was doing something wrong, or do you call him because you want to put him on a leash?
Most of the time, dogs don’t come when you call them because they associate your call to something they dislike.
Whether to punish him, or call him in an angry tone – your dog won’t come because perhaps the only reason you call him is something close to an unpleasant after effect.
There might also be some instances where you would blurt out your dog’s name, not necessarily as a call to make him come, but just blurt it out as if you’re saying no. This way, you blurt out his name and just expect him to stop whatever it is he is doing.
But mentioning your dog’s name should only be used to make him come to you. This way, your dog won’t be confused whether you are just asking him to stop, or to come really.
Call your dog by his name and follow-through with a PLEASANT EXPERIENCE – such as giving him a pat or an affectionate gesture. Study your relationship with your dog – if you call him just to be scolded, why would he heed your call in the first place?
By following this, you calling out his name will really be about calling his name and asking him to come, and not just to stop him in his tracks.
Step 2 : Give treats and praise
As part of your dog’s conditional obedience training, make sure he associates you calling him with positive reinforcement this time.
Knowing that he is not in trouble when you call him, he comes to you and gets his reward instead, and make it consistent so the trust would be there.
Make it a treat that he will enjoy and he will surely anticipate each time you call. This has to be a treat that he really likes so he won’t feel forced by obeying.
Giving treats is of course part of a dog’s obedience training. Even professionals use treats to reward a dog for a job well done.
Words also have a profound effect on dogs. Hearing him being praised and being acknowledged for his good behavior will reinforce this action. And also make him look forward not just in obeying next time, but in the accompanying praise as well.
Step 3 : Trust your dog
In the first 2 steps, you have done all that you could, now it’s time to let your dog keep this training with him and trust that he will retain this always.
This way, your dog can only retain the efforts you have exerted on your part and at the same time, it is clear with your dog what’s in it for him.
Take a step back and let your dog do his part, as you also do your part and be aware of the first 2 steps that you should manage, being his ‘leader’ and ‘trainer’.
Besides, he knows that every time he exerts effort, you calling him is now associated with rewards and positive reinforcements. Very different as to your calling, and relationship with your dog before.
Will these 3 steps work?
This dog obedience training complements the nature of a dog, so generally these types of training works. And even professional dog trainers use these methodologies and principles.
Dogs are social creatures and acknowledge the presence of a leader, of a ‘pack leader’.
So it is important to establish a relationship with your dog so he would trust you with your means.
This means like all other relationships, your dog should feel your authority but respect at the same time. And acknowledgement and praise each time for following the rules.
Training your dog to answer your every call is a basic obedience training. And this can be the road that can pave the way to other skills you want your dog to acquire.
Here’s the next step:
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