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Posts Tagged ‘dog training commands’

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

November 13th, 2009 7 comments

Dog Trainers Say it is the Most Important Training Command

Teaching one’s dog to come when called may be a live-saving endeavor.  A dog that is running toward a busy highway or encountering some other hazard must be taught to respond immediately to the come command in order to avoid the danger.

What is the Best Way to Teach My Dog to Come When Called?

Dogs Respond Better to Praise and Kindness than to Punishment

Dogs Respond Better to Praise and Kindness than to Punishment

Most dog trainers these days agree that the old style drill-sergeant method of dog training just does not work.  The authors of The Well-Mannered Dog note that dog trainers have come to recognize the obvious:

Dogs are intelligent, sensitive animals who don’t deserve physical punishment.  In fact, they respond a lot better to praise and kindness.

In fact, pack leaders in traditional packs do not rule predominantly by physical aggression.  Rather, dog pack leaders more often rule with mental control and discipline.  With those ideas in mind, here are a few things to avoid when trying to train a dog to respond to the come command:

  • Even if you get frustrated, avoid yelling at the dog.  It is counter-productive and likely to just make the dog want to stay away from you as opposed to come to you.
  • Do not chase the dog.  Depending upon the relationship you’ve already established with your dog, chasing her will be understood as either intimidation or as an invitation to play.  Intimidating the dog into coming when called fails to develop the trust necessary to get her to follow your lead.  And if the dog takes the chasing as an invitation to play, she will just keep running because, in her mind, it is so much fun.
  • Don’t fail to be consistent in your word choice.  If you want your dog to come, and you are teaching him to come using that word as the command, do not expect him to come when you say “stop” or “get over here,” or “come on,” or merely shout his name.

Make Your Dog Want to Come When Called

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

In her excellent book The Loved Dog:  The Playful, Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior, author Tamar Geller insists that games and positive reinforcement are the best dog training techniques.  She suggests the following approach to teaching one’s dog to come:

  • Bend down in a posture that resembles the dog’s “play-bow” position.  “This kind of bow is wolf sign language that implies an invitation to play,” Geller states.
  • Use the dog’s name in addition to the chosen command.  The dog needs to hear her name so she will know you are calling her instead of one of the other dogs in the dog park, for example.  Thus, “Come, Lucy” is better than just calling, “Come.”
  • If you are having a lot of trouble getting your dog to come when called, Geller suggests feeding him out of your hands instead of a bowl for several days, and only when practicing the come command.  According to Geller, this will make it not a luxury but a necessity for the dog to come when called.
  • Make a game out of practicing the come command.  According to Geller, a game of hide-and-seek can be a fun way to teach your dog to come when called.  Use special treats – what she calls “gold treats” – to reward your dog after he has spotted you and obeyed the come command.  “Dogs love a challenge, especially if they know the end result will be a pleasurable one,” says Geller.
  • Reinforce good behavior with random rewards.  If your dog learns to associate the come command with something that does not give him pleasure, he may prove stubborn just when he most needs to obey.  For instance, if “Come, Frankie” always means that the fun is over and it is time to go inside, Frankie will not want to come when called.  Geller suggests calling the dog off several times during play time, then rewarding him with a treat and, most importantly, an invitation to continue playing.  “You’ll be teaching him the pattern that coming and checking in with you is a good thing.”

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Categories: Dog Behavior

DAWGS Gives Shelter Dogs and Florida Inmates a Second Chance

July 16th, 2009 6 comments

The Florida Department of Corrections announces that the first class of DAWGS (Developing Adoptable dogs With Good Sociability) graduated on July 8 at Gulf Forestry Camp.  The Department has teamed up with the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society to form a unique dog training school.  According to the press release, “DAWGS brings together shelter dogs with inmates and gives each a second chance to succeed.  DAWGS are trained by inmates at Gulf Forestry Camp, who were themselves trained by a professional dog trainer in hopes that they may find gainful employment upon release from prison.”

Inmates Teach Basic Dog Training Commands

The dog training course involves obedience training by an inmate for an eight-week period.  The dogs are taught basic dog training commands, such as sit, stay and come, and are taught to walk without pulling on the leash.  By graduation day, each DAWG is a well-trained dog.

Adopting a Dog

After the dogs have competed the training course, they are adoptable, having been spayed or neutered, housebroken, crate trained, vaccinated and checked for heartworm.  Adoption fees start at $150.  Of these first eight graduates, six were already adopted.  They will be replaced by a new class immediately, and the program is expected to graduate 60 trained dogs over the next year.

Inmates Gain Valuable Career Skills

There are inmate dog training programs at four Florida Department of Corrections facilities.  According to the press release:

Currently one in every three inmates released from the Florida prison system returns to prison within three years.  Through programs like DAWGS, the Department of Corrections is focusing on teaching inmates viable job skills that will lead them to productive jobs and law-abiding lives upon release.

Adopt a Dog or Make a Tax Deductible Donation

For information about the DAWGS program, go to their website.  You will find information about how to adopt one of these wonderful, well-trained dogs.  And you will also learn how you can help the program with a tax deductible donation.

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