I know! You don’t have time to train your dog. Their food bowl hits the floor and you’re out the door!
Use this really fun and slightly lazy training game and it could save your dog’s life the next time it bolts outside to play neighbourhood “Zoomies”. Here is how I occasionally train and feed my dogs when I’m in a rush.
You will need:
- Dog Dish or big pockets containing a meal your dog loves.
- A Marker word or sound. A Marker is like putting a checkmark on the right behaviour. It communicates to your dog that a reward is coming and is the perfect way to tell your dog that it has performed the correct cue (in this case “come”). It can also capture behaviour you like (watch Rio’s video at the end of the blog). Look at this PDF Markers Pest2Pet
- A longline for safety if you think your dog may bolt. You can also use it to prevent access to something distracting in the environment. You don’t want your dog to hear the word “come”, then choose something else, then finally wander back to you. I love these comfortable to hold, easy to clean Biothane 25 foot lines : Pest 2 Pet Shopping
Go outside and hide the food! A recall in your house isn’t really that useful. Get your dog excited about earning reinforcement when they are in the front yard or back lane! If your dog has a really good nose for seeking out snacks when they are outside, hide the food somewhere that only you can access. See where I hid my dogs’ “rush meal”!
- Release the hound! (clip on the longline on for less reliable pups)
- “Come!” Call your dog with whatever recall word you have decided on.
- Be consistent! “Come” is not the same as “Come Here” “Fluffy Come” or “Come on”. Do your best to make the recall sound the same each time.
- Click! Mark the behaviour you want and deliver the reward or run to the hidden reward! In this video I marked for a collar grab or clipping a leash on. If your dog is new to marker training make sure to have some food to hand to them right after you mark, you can then run to the food bowl as you feed them from your hand.
Watch us Discover the hiding places together:
- Chip gets marked and rewarded for me grabbing his collar, I ran first to increase urgency and excitement to keep him from peeing on the neighbour’s rock! If your dog ducks away when you try to grab their collar, you may have to do some pre homework to do. You can also attend my Relationship Building and Smart Handling Class to learn some slick skills. Dog Skills Classes in YYC
- Elsa is called to come followed by me grabbing her collar. I then mark when my hand is on the collar and we run to find the reward together. If your dog needs speed you can move away and mark when they speed up to catch you. Since we are practicing front yard I thought the collar grab was the best demo for this situation.
- Beretta earns her marker for getting the leash clicked on! I guess the Fire hydrant was a pretty distracting place to put the food. I feed her from my hand because she seems to enjoy it a bit more since my young dogs don’t generally eat out of bowls.
When your recall is looking good try these two:
Rio, well… She just get paid for following me around. I cue a hand touch, notice how it looks like her nose touching the hand made the clicker noise? Try and time your marker so that it happens right at the moment the dog touches their nose to your hand, not before or after.
By adding training games and rewards into my regular routine, I make sure my dogs get some training. And when my mind just wants to wander as my dogs bound happily through a field, I know they’ve got the skills to come back! Do you want to learn the “hand touch” or see a blog about another topic? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.