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Monday, February 15, 2016

Teaching Come

To teach your dog to come when called, you will need a signal that you can give her from a distance.  I use my breath to blow on Treasure.  She follows my breath back to me.  You may be able to use a long reacher or dowel rod with a padded end to touch her and lead her to you.  But the one that is most useful to me wherever we are is my breath.  It doesn't involve me carrying a long stick with me wherever I go. 
Begin very close to your dog and give your come signal.  Don’t expect her to come to you, as she doesn’t know what the cue means yet.  Just give the come signal and then immediately hand her a great treat.  Make it something really special to motivate her.  Do this often.  Give the cue to come and feed.  Don’t expect her to do anything at this point.  You just want her to associate the cue with great things.
When you can give the cue to come and she immediately startles and looks for you and the treat, you are ready to move on to the next step.  Now start to give the cue when you are next to her and be ready to reward your dog for even a slight turn in your direction.  Try it from both sides and even from directly behind her until she turns toward you whenever you give the cue.
Gradually, shape your dog’s response so she comes farther towards you.  Add distance gradually.  Try it in new areas but start close up to her and then build distance again slowly.  Always reward your dog when she comes to you.  Never call her to you for things that she won’t like – grooming, medication, confinement, corrections.  If you do, she may decide not to come to you because it won’t be rewarding for her. 

With a dog that cannot see or hear you, it is important to continue a tactile signal until your dog gets to you.  Your dog won't be able to see where you are, so continue to blow in her direction until she comes all the way to you.  Reward once she gets close enough to you for you to touch her easily.

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