August 22, 2005

Puppy Game #7

We have been having fun with Garrett's puppy game #7 - Come. She illustrates this in Shaping Success with a Cattle Dog.

We usually walk in the morning with Angie, a young neighbour who dog sits for me and whom the dogs know well and love dearly. Angie holds Dusty with one hand across her chest and an arm in front of her back legs. I move off, only a metre or two at first and talk to her to rev her up - "Hey Dusty-dog, whatcha doing back there?" sort of things. I then called her, sometimes with her name, other times with "Here", and started running.

I learned fairly quickly to hold out a tug toy as she caught up. Her instinct was to grip me on the ankle - which took some of the fun out of the game for me.

Garret's advice:
  • Use a tug toy as a reward rather than food or a ball.
  • Keep the tug toy hidden until puppy catches up with you
  • Vary the timing, the point after the recall when you start running, to eliminate body language as the cue to come.
  • Sometimes start with puppy in a down.

I'd also include Derrett's advice to turn towards puppy as she catches up to you so she runs across the front of your body. For Derrett, if you form a line with your arms held straight out to the side, behind that line is a no-go area for the dog.

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