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Puppy is now home but he doesn’t know what his name is! Gautam Kari lets us in on the little tricks that help establish your dog’s identity.
Identity is important whether it’s a human baby or a pup. When a baby comes into the parent’s home they are in a tizzy trying to figure out the perfect name. Do the same with your puppy but make sure it’s short so that it’s easy to call his name several times during training. Saying “Abracadabra” would just be a mouthful when said a hundred times! Here are a few ways to reinforce his identity during training:
- You want your puppy to come to you every time you call him. This is by far the most important command ever and it’s called the Recall Command. It needs to be so well reinforced that no matter what your puppy is doing – chasing down a cat or sniffing a bone, he should stop immediately and come to you when called. This is why his name during recall and the word “Come” should always be used with a positive association.
- If I call his name because he has done something wrong or if I ask him to come only to yell at him, he will always have a negative association with the two most important words in his life.
- First, you and your friend should sit on the floor 5 meters apart and facing each other. One of you holds the puppy and the other one holds a treat in their hand. Show the puppy the treat and as soon as you say “Tuffy Come!”, your friend releases the puppy and the second the puppy touches you, treat him and give him a verbal appreciation such as “Yes! Good Come!”
- Repeat this with your friend and eventually wean off the food to simply praising with petting or verbal appreciation.
- Make sure you don’t repeat the command more than once because this shows the dog that he can come to you at his own will after 10-15 calls and will get the treat anyway.
- Practice recall outside the house as well in the same way and remember to treat only when to come to you fully and not just beyond physical reach.
Recall is an extremely important command that your dog should learn to make your life easy outdoors and to keep his life safe as well.
COO & Senior Animal Behaviourist