When Milo came to live with us, he had no idea about such a thing as “recall.” Let off the lead, he would just run until he was bored or hungry. Our attempts to catch him would turn into playing “tag.” Of course, we immediately started training him to come back when called. One technique is especially useful for newly adopted dogs and puppies: “hide and seek.” I started doing it just for fun, but quickly noticed how useful it was. This exercise will teach your dog to keep an eye on you, to be aware of your location and to follow you. Believe me, dog walks are much more pleasant when you decide where to go, not your dog. What is more important, your dog will be less likely to be lost.
A dog’s ability to focus on the owner/handler is the foundation of successful dog training process. The dog should be able to keep its attention on you and must always expect guidance from you. This week we will be practicing a few simple exercises designed to teach the dog to focus on you and to improve your clicker training skills. In addition, it will accustom you and your dog to the regular dog training sessions. For those of you, who are not yet familiar with clicker training, I will outline the basics tomorrow. In the meantime, I will suggest modifications to the dog training exercises, that will allow you and your dog to benefit from dog training regardless of whether you use a clicker or not.
Before you begin, make sure you have enough treats, a clicker (optional) and as little distraction as possible around you. It is always better to start training at home.