COME!! Rex, come on!! It is time to go home!! Come HERE!! Please Rex, come...
How many times have you heard something like this at the dog park or experienced it yourself when you have your dog off-leash? We have heard this and seen the frustrated owners as they chase, beg, cajole and yell for their dogs so that they can leave. We love to watch people and people and their pets even more so. What we see in this situation is often that the owners only put the leash on when it is time to go. Our pooches are smart and quickly figure out that LEASH = Fun is OVER. Sad pooch. Who wants to leave fun times with friends?
We are here to help! Just need to do a little retraining on what the leash represents to our dogs.
Tools needed to accomplish this:
- You and your zippy fun dog.
- Patience. It will take practice and repetition, and practice and repetition andâ€¦
Your trainers voice:
- Happy, high pitched voice because you are the life of this party!
- Avoid lower and angry tones when you are trying to encourage your dog to come to you.
- Some REALLY good treats that are worth checking in with you for.
- Try to being somewhat discreet when giving treats at a dog park with other dogs due to possible food aggression issues.
Steps for curing your dogs selective hearing at the dog park:
- We are assuming your dog knows come and normally has a pretty good recall.
*Keep your leash on you at all times, not clipped to the fence or on the gate.
- Ask your dog to sit & stay in the neutral zone between gates.
- Show him those yummy treats you brought. Give him one for his good sit & stay.
- Open the gate into the park and tell him he can go play.
- Let her do all her meet and greets and zipping around for a bit.
- ANYTIME he starts coming towards you, ask him to come in a happy, high pitched voice.
- REWARD the check in! Treat and praise. Tell her to go play, encourage her to go off with her buddies.
- Follow close behind. When she makes eye contact, ask her to come. If she seems reluctant, turn and pretend to run away, slowly zipping back and forth but still keeping an eye on her. Most dogs love to play chase. Squatting down while slowly backing away can work as well.
When she catches you, give her a treat and tell her she is wonderful. Play with her for a bit and then allow her to rejoin her friends.
- Repeat 6, 7 & 8 several times until she seems to be catching on.
- The next time she comes, put the leash on. At this point, your pooch will think playtime is over and be bummed out. This is where we start the leash retraining. Walk her on the leash, ask for a heel, maybe a sit or two, give her a treat and let her go again. She will probably zip off, thinking maybe you have lost your marbles, but hey, she gets to play some more, so it must be all good!
- Now alternate between asking for a check in and putting the leash on and doing some obedience practice. Remember, lots of repetition and patience as wells as praise and treats.