Updates, News and Tips
Amber Cottle Canine Training Center
Teaching a dog to come when called
Dogs do not come when called because they have not been trained properly to do so. A dog needs to learn what the word “come” means by association and positive reinforcement. The dog has to first learn to come when called on a 6 foot leash before it will learn to come to the owner from a distance. Then the owner can progress to a long leash and then to off-leash. Start with teaching the dog to come when called on a short leash. Change directions and back up when saying the dog’s name and “come”. Always reward with play or a treat. (positive reinforcement) Practice this in all different surroundings and distractions.
Once the dog has learned the word come on a 6 foot leash, then progress to a 35 foot leash and repeat the exercises. If the dog does not come to you when you say the command, you must get the dog to come back to you by pulling him in on the leash, or backing up and encouraging him to follow. If the dog is off-leash, do not use the “Come‘ command unless you are certain the dog will come back to you 100% of the time. This is why we need to use a leash!
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My puppy keeps nipping! How do I stop him?
Nipping: Young puppies typically will try to mouth or nip especially between 8 and 12 weeks of age. You need to find out who the dog is nipping and when so that we can better understand why it is happening.
Is someone rough housing with the puppy, or keeping hands in their face?
Typically puppies nip more when excited or in play. If a puppy is nipping when you try to pet him, then don’t touch him. Just move your hands away. Don’t try to reprimand or punish the dog for nipping. It will only make things worse. If the dog is allowed to mouth hands then he will continue to do so. If we prevent the dog from mouthing hands then the behaviour goes away because it is not being rewarded with attention.
You can also replace your hand with a toy, and then praise the dog for taking the toy. I suggest waving the toy in the dog’s face and then throw it away from you to get the the dog to move away from you. If nothing is working and the dog is getting more excited and only wants to mouth you, then give the puppy a 10 minute time out. Time outs can be in a crate or another room.
If you are concerned about using the crate as a time out, then lure the dog with a treat into the crate and then close the door. The dog will not have a negative association with the crate if you use a treat to encourage him into the crate.
No rough housing with the puppy or excitable play because it will encourage the dog to nip.
Always use a toy in play so the dog does not bite hands. No tug of war because it will increase the bite strength of the dog and encourage the dog to compete with you for the toy. Nipping should decrease significantly by 16 weeks of age. If it doesn’t then someone is perpetuating it by rough housing or keeping hands in the dog's face.
How do I stop my dog from jumping up?
Jumping up is a social behavior that can take a long time to correct. I recommend teaching the dog to sit whenever it greets a person.
A good way to start this training is to do some hand feeding with the dog so that we can get a lot of repetition with sitting. Take a hand full of kibble from the dog’s meal, ask the dog to sit, reward the dog with a piece of kibble . Release the dog on command and repeat the exercise at least 10-15 times. Eventually the dog will remember that if he sits in front of you he will get a treat. This will create the sit as a default command whenever he comes to you because of repetition.
If a dog learns to sit, it cannot jump if it is sitting (counter conditioning). Also, teach the dog to sit for greetings with strangers. Use a treat to get the dog’s focus while he is sitting. If the dog is on leash then you can step on the leash when the dog is being greeted to prevent them from jumping up. If the dog jumps on you move into his space. The dog will move backwards. Then ask him to sit. If someone encourages a dog to jump up, then the previous training will become ineffective.
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