July 21, 2009

The Name Game

I have worked with so many dogs who only know their name to mean something unpleasant is going to happen...when was the last time you called your dog by its name in a happy tone for a good reason? Too often people are yelling at their dogs to stop doing something or to come inside and discontinue play only to be left alone while their person goes to work all day. Imagine your dog's name becomes a grand word and they whip their head around at the mere sound of it. I start by teaching the dog its name all over again with a positive twist.

Step 3 of my foundation behaviors is teaching the dog a good association with its name. This is what it would look like. (The dog must be primed to a clicker at this point or you can alternatively prime the word "yes").

1. Wait for eye contact from the dog
2. Say the dog's name in a happy, calm tone
3. Click the clicker or say "yes"
4. Provide a yummy treat reward

Repeat the above starting in your home with little to no distractions and work your way outside to the back yard and then to the street and finally to the local park slowly building the amount and degree of distractions. Do this over the course of a week or two depending on how much time you have to dedicate to the training. Once a day is ok...twice a day is great and more is a bonus.

Once your dog is giving you immediate eye contact in all these locations with a varied degree of distractions, go back home and when the dog is not paying attention to you...say his/her name. If he/she turns her head to look at you click and provide a jackpot of treats (multiple treats one at a time for a few seconds). Now you are ready to say your dog's name in the same various environments you have already gone to in order to build up the reliability that your dog will respond to his name when he hears it by whipping his head around to locate you each and every time without fail. This will help with the beginning of the recall command too!

1 comment:

  1. that is so true! i have seen dogs put their tails between their legs and look for cover at their name. good post!


Dog Training Philosophy

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I train dogs using positive reinforcement training to modify unwanted behaviors.  I step outside the traditional training box and use therapeutic-grade essential oils to assist in my behavior modification regime when it comes to dogs plagued with fear and anxiety as well as aggression.  My philosophy is to heal the dog's mind, body and spirit, not just to rid the dog of unacceptable behaviors.  I specialize in shelter dog rehab, reactive rover, and fearful fidos.