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Reading With Rover
Trigger Word, Potty Time On-Leash, Recall
by Becky Bishop
It's important to train your dog to eliminate with his leash on for this simple reason. There will be times when you travel with your dog and it's much safer to have the dog leashed so he can safely eliminate anywhere you "trigger" him to do so. If you do not teach your puppy to eliminate in front of you, you are teaching him to go away from you to eliminate. I would much rather be able to hop out of my car with my dog anywhere, trigger him “potty, potty” and viola! He goes on command wherever and whenever I need him to.
A trigger word will come sooner if you teach it to your dog on a leash, or at least while you are nearby so your dog is comfortable eliminating with you being there. Dogs, as they get older, want privacy (don't we all!) when they eliminate. The down side to that is if they have privacy EVERY time they eliminate you will have a dog that will not eliminate when you are near by. That, my friend, can become a pain in the rear!
If your puppy is getting older, over four months, they will develop a good sense of selective hearing, similar to teenagers. They will now ignore you and are no long your little shadow, staying near your leg. What used to frighten them now intrigues them. If you do not have a fenced yard it’s time to get a containment system such as Invisible Fence or a hard fence to keep your puppy safe.
As your puppy is sniffing the grass and all the while you are yelling "Bud, come, come, come!", "Come" can very well mean, "sniff the grass", "sniff the grass" and "sniff the grass some more!" as THAT is the action he is doing while you are saying, "Come!" Come is an action word and the dog needs to be in the "action" of coming to you while you are saying the command in order to get a clear understanding of the word.
Here's a little tip. Before you call your dog to "come", praise him. "Bud! Oh, you are such a good boy!" That will usually get his attention. Once you have his attention, squat down and call him. The problem with calling him to the back door is that he knows when he comes to the back door, play time is over and he’s going from butterflies and sweet smelling grass to the doghouse--not exactly a reward. It’s important to call your dog when you really don’t need him and make it a game; make it fun to come! To the dog it should mean you get great pets, good treats and only sometimes do you have to go inside. Call your dog from different areas of the yard, not always to the back door where he has the association of, “Oh, I know what that means,” which will cause him to go into delay mode.
When you have time practice calling him with a long line attached and call him to the back door but DO NOT go in the house. Instead, give him a jackpot treat (jackpot = chicken, steak, cheese, just a blow-his-mind type of treat!) and release him to go play in the yard again. Keep him guessing. Calling him to the back door has become predictable and unrewarding so change the picture and you will get a better response. Calling your dog ONLY when you need him is a training mistake. When we call dogs when we really need them there is often a sense of urgency to our voice. The tone is typically low and serious and that will keep the dog at bay. So even when you do need the dog, really need him to come, try to keep that training tone, happy, instead of a low serious voice.
Becky Bishop, Instructor www.puppymanners.com PO Box 2569
425.482.1057 ©1994 - 2020 Puppy Manners Woodinville, WA 98072-2569
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