Garrett Stevens’ Four, FREE, Fantastic Tips to get your dog or puppy to “COME!”

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If your puppy or dog isn’t coming when called you may eventually discover that they won’t do other things you ask!  A dog who does not come is in need of what I call, “respect work.”

If your pup won’t come that means that he is already leading the relationship in his mind.  I hate to break this to you (who am I kidding…I love teaching)  but your dog’s disobedience of the “come” or “here” command is actually a much bigger deal than you originally thought!

And what with the accelerated growth rate of our pups you will probably discover (if you look into it) many accelerated manipulations of the personal space around your pup.  Once a pup has control over his own body and his own personal space there is nothing to stop him from expanding his territory to other things in his environment.

Example from the mind of your puppy:  “Since my owner lets me claim my paws and my tail maaaaaaaaaybe I’ll just start (little by little) to claim my whole back half and not let them pet me there.  And after that maybe I’ll begin to (ever so slightly) manipulate, claim, and control my own toys and how I play with my owners.  I will play only on my terms.  While I manipulate these things to my advantage I will actively be testing and attempting to out-touch, out-mouth, and outmaneuver my owners to see how good they are at communicating in my language (to see if they mean what they say and where the boundary lines are)!”

Do you see where this can lead? (Dominance, Hyperactivity, Fearfulness, Aggression, etc)  For those of you who don’t believe in “dominance” you can feel free to put whatever foolish human word you would prefer using to describe a dog that is out of control, wants to take over, doesn’t want to obey, and is basically rude and running the show!  Let’s continue…

The real answers lie in first identifying all the subtle manipulations that our pups get away with and then knowing how to calmly stop them.  This is where I can help dramatically.  Order my Hot Listed book on dog and human behaviors, DOG MYTHS: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!

I’ll put a link to my shocking and yet inspiring training book at the bottom of this article.  I don’t have time in this short blog post to go into every subtle puppy manipulation that could be happening in your case because it would be like trying to learn an entire language from a simple blog article.  It cannot be done.  However, if you follow my four ways to strengthen your puppies recall this can greatly help stop your loving pup from acting like such a brat and prevent him from growing that bratty behavior into serious future behavioral issues.

 

  1.  Never call an unreliable dog.                                                     This means avoid the temptation to say, “Come” or, “Here” to your dog or pup!  Don’t do it.  Keep your mouth closed!  [Please read our post entitled Shut your mouth if you want to talk with Mother Nature]  This is an extremely hard rule to follow for us as humans!  Be aware you probably will fail at this from time to time.  That’s OK if it’s only happening a few times…it is totally unacceptable and foolhardy if it becomes a practice.  Sadly, it usually is practiced and it gives our pups the ability to simply, defiantly give us the doggy middle finger by clearly disagreeing with our recall command!

2.  Use the leash.                                                                            The leash should be your best friend if you’ve got a puppy or dog who will not come.  Have them wear it much more often.  Have them drag it around the house for hours at a time.  The leash will slow them down a bit (both mentally and physically).  If your pup is on leash and you want to say, “Come” or give a recall command by all means go ahead because now (on leash) you can easily disagree when he disagrees with you by not coming.

If your pup won’t come after you’ve given the command and he is on leash -Give a quick or short tug and then gesture into the recall position.  Remember, dogs prefer body language to verbal language.  He will begin to come toward you.  As soon as he starts towards you verbally praise a little and upon his finishing a clean “Come” command (meaning the pup’s head is almost touching your knees and he is directly in front of you) verbally praise more and be sure to pet and touch your pup.  You should be raising your energy and the tone of your voice…we are adding excitement and making coming to us worth it in the mind of the pup.  (This is rare because most other commands and just how we live our lives in general we always strive to lower the energy and we are typically looking for the animal to remain stationary -sit, down, stay or just calm depending on whether we are actively training or passively whispering).

3.  Use a toy and develop the pup’s prey drive

Using a toy should be when the dog is at his highest level of energy!  We want the pup really engaged and snapping at the tug or rope!  If you develop your pup’s natural prey drive you can quickly work a very reliable recall and you can get several repetitions in!

Imagine you have a dog who loves to play fetch and chase the ball or stick.  Now imagine how easy it could be if every time your dog (who loves to play fetch) learns that the second half of that game is the same exact body movement as performing the “come” or “here” command.  It can be extremely easy if we don’t allow all the social manipulations to creep in.

My dog Rambo jumps up high to catch the Frisbee. This is good prey drive on display!

The problem is most people aren’t even aware of what they are.  Do you know why?  Because most behaviorists and trainers can’t identify the manipulations either!!!  Shocking, I know, but it is the sad truth.  (Don’t worry though, I’ve got a book coming out that will help identify and prevent or reverse each and every manipulation that your dog or puppy may attempt!)

4.  Use a food treat.

Make sure you don’t bribe your puppy.  Reward.  Never bribe.  There is a difference!  And don’t overdo the treats.  Like the name implies they should be supplemental and occasional.  I always ask my clients, “When’s the last time you had cheesecake?”  Get the point?!  It’s a treat not a constant.

 

PS.  If your pup can’t fetch or doesn’t bring it back because he’s attempting to manipulate control of the game and his personal space then take my advice and start playing a close game of tug of war.  It will give you a chance to actually be a player in the game and it will keep the pup close and in your space.  And then you can teach the dog many other things like how to calm down and energy control, the “drop it” or “give” command and other vital spacial communication.

Me with my dogs Rambo and Bosley.

 

Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!

There’s the link above so click it and reserve your copy of the book today!

My newest book is now available to order!  So Long Separation Anxiety  This book will greatly aid you in taking a fresh look, a spatial, language-based look, at separation anxiety in dogs and pups!

 

Questions?  Comments?  Testimonials?  YES, Please do respond we love your feedback.     -G

 

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Slugs do Not play. Worms do Not play.

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Dogs DO play!  Playfulness is a defining characteristic in any intelligent animal. Play enlarges the mind. Play is discovery. Play is competitive. Play is learning.  And play is fun.

When I Google searched playfulness in intelligent animals (and other searches similar)  I found page after page filled with animals…but none of the searches were about dogs!  There were, of course, countless stories and clips about dolphins, elephants, crows and whales.  Then a few pages after that you can find pigs, river otters, more stories of dolphins and whales, and even stories on the intelligence of the octopus but not a one on wolves, dogs, or other canines.  What’s up with that?

Dogs are play masters (the gods of frolic) and I know they are one of the smartest creatures on earth.  You want proof.  Here’s my proof…the dog has traded the dangers of the brutal wild, the need to scrape by on the brink of starvation, fighting and flighting just to survive, to instead, lounge next to our hearth, our couch, or on a comfy Costco dog bed!  The dog gets fed each day like clockwork, and in general has it, “made in the shade.”  Doesn’t that imply the dog is brilliant?  Haven’t they won, so to speak, when it comes to the game of survival?  Don’t dogs use us, their owners, as tools or a means to their ends?  As humans we know we are smart because we dominate the planet and we build civilization but aren’t dogs right there with us?

Don’t talk to me about the intelligence of a pig when they are still living in the cold outdoors!  (sorry to all you rabid pig fans out there!)

The dog has won.  In fact, many scientists ie: nerds who come up with theories in very specific detail and then conduct experiments and tests to try and prove said theories.  (sorry to all you rabid scientist fans out there too!) have come to the conclusion that many wolves may have actually chosen to domesticate themselves! Talk about intelligence, that is a bold and daring choice.

Imagine leaving the wild to join up with a totally different species and by hanging out with that species you eventually get to eat some of their trash and left over food scraps.

It takes all the danger out of hunting much larger animals (which wolves do on a regular basis).  Leaving the wild and being in a state of perpetual youth (the state our domestic dogs are locked in due to us breeding them for calmness, playfulness, and working abilities over the years – neoteny) obviously can add health and longevity since the average life span of a wild wolf is only 6-8 years (and many die sooner).

Let’s get back to the topic of play as pertaining to smarts.  On a personal note, most of the smartest people I know tend to play and goof around quiet often.  They are quick-witted and easily thrive in a group setting.  (I am not talking about the rare genius who lacks all social skills because his brain is so different).  I’m talking about the people who become leaders in our world.   To live and survive in a social group (pack) you have to be intelligent.  Let’s go a step further and I think you’ll see why I hold the opinion that dogs are both outrageously smart and playful.

Have you ever gone to pet a dog and they pet you back?  I think we are all familiar with this.  You reach your hand down to stroke/pat the top of the dog’s head and instead of letting it happen that dog intercepts you with it’s nose, it’s tongue, light mouthing, pawing or jumping up. This is clear canine communication.  I see it quite often in my day-to-day work with dogs.   As friendly or excited as the dog may appear to be the dog is, in that exact moment, testing the social boundaries and attempting to determine or anticipate what behavioral pattern is going to happen next and what they can and cannot get away with from the person touching them.  Many dogs intercept our touch trying to one-up us, sort of a one-sided game, forcing us to play their way with their rules concerning their body and social spacing.

Next time you pet a dog watch for who is petting who first, or who gets the last touch.  It is fascinating to watch these interactions from the dog’s point of view.  There is something much deeper happening than just a surface, “Pet me.” going on in the brain of the animal.  And I know this because most dogs left unchecked in the touching department ie: dogs that spend their lives on top of us (our laps) or jumping on us, licking us, mouthing us, et cetera, soon become masters of manipulating rituals that surround us everyday and…they manipulate us perfectly (which leads to behavioral issues).

I’m getting off track again and this is for another post but please remember your dog is brilliant.  And if they aren’t learning rudimentary sits, downs, and the like maybe you should check your mirror for who is lacking in the intellectual department because your dog has trained you and certainly not the other way round.  But I’ll cut you some slack since you are reading this blog and if you follow this blog or continue to read it soon you may be just as clever and quick as the furry animal that slobbers on your pant legs.

“So what can I do”? you ask.

Find out in my next exciting post!  Garrett’s Five Steps to Perfecting Playtime with your Pooch.  To Be Continued………………………………………………………………………

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go to http://www.gstevensdogtrainer.com for more info or help with your puppy or dog.