Teaching your puppy to follow at a young age, or building your adult dog’s desire to follow, is key to eventually having a reliable dog when off leash. These games are easy. They are fun. And they work. Get going!
Teaching your puppy or dog what “off” means when all is calm is time very well spent. This is called “pretraining,” and the idea is that if we teach our companions what we want when all is calm and relaxed, then we have it ready to go when things are more exciting.
This is a foundation behavior in the My Smart Puppy approach that builds self-calming rather than rewarding struggle. One of the ways we practice this with our dogs is when we handle them. When many people start out, they tend to try something and, if the dog struggles at all, they stop. This common reaction actually rewards struggle.
The Guided Down is telling your dog to lie down by using light downward leash pressure. Even if your dog already downs some of the time when told to, the Guided Down helps you when he doesn’t. We use this for long downs, downs around distractions, and any other time our dogs need some help downing.
There are many ways to “tell” a dog what you want him to do. This method uses a light leash pressure rather than a word or a hand touch. Why do this?
Just like the A,B,C’s in reading or the scales when learning the piano, “Mine!” is a foundation behavior that prepares your puppy to listen around all sorts of distractions.
Imagine for a minute what it would be like if your dog automatically did many of the things you’d like him to do.
“Sit is It” teaches your dog that when in doubt, sit! A sitting dog is not a guest-assaulting, arm-mouthing, food-grabbing or crotch-sniffing dog. A sitting dog is a pretty good dog.