LESSON SEVEN. HERE.
Long ago, when we had our first dog, we were meeting our family at a Broadway theater and we had everyone’s ticket. Before catching the train, we decided to give our dog one more walk. While trying to clip on his leash, he saw a deer and bolted off. He never learned Wait, let alone Here. We chased on foot and in the car. Luckily he liked car rides and we got him back. Since then, our dogs went to obedience school and learned their lessons. Especially Here.
Once again, get your good treats ready. Don’t be stingy. Make it better than a deer.
- Put your dog on his leash and tell him to sit and wait.
- Put several treats in your hand and walk a few feet away, either holding on to or stepping on the leash.
- Stand up tall, place your hand with the treats at waist level.
- Call your dog’s name and say “Here”.
- You want your dog to come to you and sit.
- When he sits and looks at you, give him one treat at a time. Remember, no treat until he sits and looks at you. If you need to, remind him to sit.
- Do this three times (The Rule of Three) until he is successful.
- When your dog gets good at the above exercise, practice without his leash. (Indoors!)
- Walk a few feet away, call his name and say “Here”.
- He should run and sit down in front of you.
- Slowly give him one treat at a time, saving the last while you clip on his leash.
- If your dog finds this difficult, have a friend or family member hold him on his leash until you tell him “Here”.
- Gradually build the distance to 20 feet.
- Vary the number of treats you give him. Not only is he learning to come to you, he is also learning to count!
In real life your dog notices all kinds of interesting things: Dogs. People. Cars. And, of course, deer. So practice adding distractions.
- Have a friend or family member help you out by clapping, bouncing a tennis ball or squeaking a toy while he is running to you.
- Watch where he’s looking. If it’s somewhere other than at you, guess where he’s going to go.
- Vary the treats. Always make sure it’s something your dog finds valuable. If your dog isn’t that much into food, use a favorite toy.
- Practice outdoors by putting him on a long line – a 12 foot leash or several leashes clipped together. That way you can grab him if he decides to take off.
IMPORTANT things to remember:
- NEVER CALL YOUR DOG IN ORDER TO PUNISH HIM.
- DO NOT call him for something he finds unpleasant – like a bath or being shut up inside his crate.
- ALWAYS make sure that coming to you means a jackpot of rewards and lots of praise.
Sometimes the dog-gonest things happen… Okay. You’ve practiced. But what if Murphy’s Law takes over? If it’s an emergency and your dog doesn’t come when he’s called, grab the cookie box and yell “Cookie, cookie, cookie”. Or grab and call out anything he loves to get him back.
The most important thing is your dog’s safety.
When he comes back, no harsh words or punishment. Give him a huge reward for listening to you.
And keep practicing so that it doesn’t happen again.