Your dog is always happy about a long walk, but what if the weather doesn’t permit it? whether it is too cold or too hot, Or if your dog should take it easy for a few weeks because of an injury or an operation? Here you can read how you can keep your dog busy at home and which toys are great for it.
Why Should You Keep Your Dog Busy?
Originally, the different breeds of dogs were primarily bred to give people a hand and to work with them. Some should hunt or chase animals, look for the nearest things or people, and yet others should protect their house and yard.
Even if our canine friends are mainly kept as family members today, most dogs are extremely enthusiastic about learning and get bored quickly if they are not regularly challenged and exercised.
Of course, nothing can replace long walks in nature. However, a variety of indoor games and activities will keep your dog busy and entertained. However, there are many exercises that challenge your dog mentally and are ideally suited to keep your dog busy at home.
Basic Rules for Keeping Your Dog Busy
If you practice commands or tricks with your dog at home or organize search games in the apartment, you should adhere to a few rules:
It should be fun for everyone.
This also applies to you and your dog. If the fun is lacking, all efforts are in vain. You should also be patient with yourself and your dog. Always take small steps when practicing tricks or commands.
Rewards After Indoor Games
Games with a reward are just more fun. For example, you can let your dog earn his food on some days. Set aside the food ration for this day in the beginning or put it in a food bag and try to give your dog in many games, orders and commands throughout the day until the bag is empty at the end of the day. You will notice how attentively your dog will follow you every step of the way from now on.
It is only fun if there is success.
If you are too fast and your dog does not understand the exercises, then there is no fun and his motivation drops. It, therefore, makes sense to do more easy exercises at the beginning and then increase the level of difficulty step by step. Pay attention to the timing and reward your dog as quickly as possible if he has done something right.
You should stop when it works best
Learning new tricks or commands can be really exhausting for your dog. Therefore, pay attention to regular rest phases in which your dog can process what has just been learned. Always stop when your dog has just completed an exercise the right way and has gained a sense of achievement. So the motivation remains high.
Indoor Activities: Brain Teasers and Sniffing Games, Dog Toys & Trick training
There are also a number of ways in which you can keep your dog busy mentally and physically at home. Thinking along even makes your dog more tired than mere physical exercise.
Nose Work and Sniffing Games
Sniffing is incredibly stressful for dogs. What seems so completely natural and self-evident is an outstanding characteristic that exhausts dogs after a short time and after which they really need a period of rest. It is said that 10-20 minutes of sniffing is as exhausting as an hour of running. So nose work is a great way to keep your dog busy without leaving the house.
Laying scent trails: It’s best to take strong-smelling treats and use them to create a scent trail in the apartment. To do this, simply pull the treat across the floor and place it on the floor at the end of the trail, where your dog can eat it as a reward when it has found it.
Hidden treats: why not hide one of your dog’s favorite treats in an old blanket. Only fold once at the beginning. If your dog has practiced before, you can fold them several times. Your dog will not rest until he has finally fumbled out this treat and examined every fold of the blanket.
Sniff rug: Do you know what a sniff rug is? No? Now then take a quick look at our DIY instructions: DIY – just make the sniffing carpet yourself! Your dog will love to sniff out all kinds of tasty things in it.
Make sniffing toy yourself: You can easily make things yourself for your dog. For example, fill toilet paper rolls with food and press the front and back shut so that the dog has to open them to eat the food. Or fill a shoebox with corks, crumpled newspapers, or paper towels and let your dog pick out his food from it. Do you happen to have some old or discarded clothes? Excellent! Fill discarded pants or a sweater with snacks, knot everything well and let your dog prey on his food.
Sniffing memory: With a little bit of talent you can sew a sniffing memory with these DIY instructions and practice recognizing and searching for smells with your dog.
Playing hide and seek: Have you ever hidden yourself in the apartment and let your dog look for you? For many dogs (and people) this is great fun.
ATTENTION: Hunting and racing games are very exciting for dogs and should therefore only be practiced to a limited extent, especially if you have a nervous dog. These strenuous games are counterproductive. On the other hand, nose work is a great thing for nervous dogs, as the dog has to concentrate a lot and the sniffing game helps them blow off the steam without being outdoors. Hopefully, with the right level of exercise, your dog will be curled up on the couch and ready to relax.
Concentration and slow crossing around obstacles promotes self-confidence and the coordination of your pup. To do this, for example, put a ladder on the floor and slowly lure your dog so that he can concentrate on how best to place his legs in order not to trip over. Let your pup work out the way for himself and support him with quiet words of praise. Or how about two buckets on which your dog should stand quietly with front and rear paws? These exercises are also great for nervous dogs, as they can reduce stress and learn to be more aware of their bodies.
Trick and Clicker Training
Learning tricks and commands is great fun for many dogs. Plus, learning tricks is a wonderful way to keep dogs mentally busy and kept indoors. There are so many tricks you can teach your dog. You can practice many of them in the apartment, e.g. undoing shoelaces, rolling onto your back, crawling across the floor, closing and opening doors, tidying up, switching the light on and off, and much more.
Clicker training is particularly suitable for practicing tricks and commands . You can specifically reward your dog for its correct behavior. In this way, your dog learns new behavior in small steps, for example giving its paws. Every sense of achievement is reinforced until it finally understands the trick.
Clicker training particularly requires the dog to think along with it. He tries out different solutions and thinks about which action is right and desired. Insecure dogs can learn to solve small problems without pressure and thus develop more self-confidence in themselves and in their abilities.
Games with dog toys are especially exciting for many dogs. If they have to think and then succeed on their own, it also strengthens self-confidence.
Just like us humans, every dog is different. The amount of indoor games and activities depends on a wide range of factors including age and breed. For example, not every dog can be motivated by treats. Some dogs may not want to look for treats in their home, but rather learn tricks and be petted as a reward or play with their favorite toy. There are so many ways you can keep your dog entertained around the house.
Try to adjust the exercise in the apartment to the preferences of your dog and offer your dog things that he likes to do. Because you know he best and know what he enjoys and where his strengths lie.
If you offer your canine friend enough indoor activities and rest at home, they will stay relaxed even when you cannot go for a long walk.
These or similar thoughts are deeply rooted in the minds of many dog owners. You take it for granted that a dog that is constantly on a leash cannot be happy. As far as your dog is concerned, he must always be able to move around freely, romp, sniff and play with other dogs. However, there are a few reasons why your canine friend is rarely or never allowed to walk without being put on a leash.
Why Does a Dog Have to Walk on a Leash?
Keeping a dog means taking responsibility. I don’t just mean the responsibility for your dog, but also for other people and animals. By keeping your dog on a leash, you can control him. If he runs free, that is only possible to a limited extent. No matter how well he reacts to the recall, there is always a potential risk. After all, a dog is a living being, not a machine. He can have good days and bad days. He may be sick, scared, and then react differently than you would have expected him to.
Some dogs cannot or rarely walk without a leash for one of the following reasons:
They are passionate hunters They are afraid of people, dogs or noises They react aggressively to people, conspecifics or other animals They are among the so-called listed dogs They are still very young and therefore untrained they are not easily accessible They suffer from an illness.
In this case, it would be reckless or even dangerous for your dog and others to take it off the leash.
Even so, life with a dog that is permanently on a leash is not always easy. Often other dog owners lack understanding. Sometimes they let their dog run to your leashed one. Other times they give you a lecture that you also have to take your canine friend off the leash.
All of this can be stressful and frustrating. But you don’t need to feel guilty about it. Just because a dog runs off the leash does not guarantee its happiness.
Are Dogs Happier Without a Leash?
For a dog to be balanced and happy, it takes more than free running. He needs
mental and physical workload
Plenty of rest
Satisfying a dog’s needs, for example, sniffing or digging. (Basic dog needs also include enough food and a need for security.)
Socializing. It doesn’t have to be strange dogs or people. For some dogs, it is completely sufficient if they receive attention from their caregivers.
If your dog has to be kept on a leash at all times, you needn’t feel bad about it. All of these needs can be met in a dog that cannot be leashed.
Your Dog Will Feel Comfortable on a Leash
Whether your dog feels comfortable on a leash depends on choosing the right leash. With a bungee tow leash, for example, your dog has a lot more freedom of movement than with the usual 2 or 3m lead leashes for walking while guaranteeing it is still secured. Tow leashes are available in different materials and lengths. They are designed to be flexible and comfortable. This way, your four-legged friend can run a little faster when he’s having fun or sniffing the edge of the path.
However, do not leave your dog unattended or play too wildly with other dogs on the leash . In the worst case, the long leash can wrap around the other dog’s neck and cause injuries. If your dog likes to play with fellow dogs, you can inquire at a dog school or an association whether there is a fenced area there that you can use. In more and more municipalities, fenced outdoor areas for dogs are also being offered.
In addition to playing with his fellow dogs, there are countless ways to mentally exercise your dog. Here you will find employment opportunities for indoors and outdoors. You can also spice up your walks with simple means by playing search games with your dog or calling up familiar signals in unfamiliar places.
So that your dog can pursue his dog’s needs such as sniffing, you should give him enough time on your walks and not structure them too much.
As you can see, a leash is not the decisive factor in whether your dog leads a happy life. Rather, it depends on satisfying his canine needs. And you can do this just as well or badly with a dog on a leash as with one that is always free. For some dogs, it is even more relaxed when they are on a leash. Scared dogs in particular can gain security while putting on a leash. Letting your dog run free comes with a lot of responsibility. Not to take it off, exactly the same.
To achieve successful dog training, it is important to reward your dog appropriately. Unfortunately, when it comes to rewards, many dog owners only think of food. While that is quite attractive to many dogs, others have little interest in what they eat. What does a suitable reward look like with these dogs? Why does it make sense not to always use the same treats, even with hungry dogs?
Let’s see what dog-friendly rewards look like and why it is important to diversify them.
What Needs Does Your Dog Have?
Before I begin with dog rewards, I have an example for you. Imagine you’re sitting in front of the television watching a movie. The doorbell rings, you open it and get 10 dollars for it. You will probably be happy to open the door.
This scenario is repeated several times a day from now on. Sometimes you’re in the shower, sometimes you’re cooking, and sometimes you read a book when the doorbell rings. After a few repetitions, you know that you will get 10 dollars and start to weigh up: is it worth going to the door for 10 dollars, or is what I’m doing more interesting? The reward becomes predictable for you and gradually loses its appeal.
Let’s look at this example from a different angle.
Every time you open the door, you get different things for it. Sometimes it’s a bar of chocolate, sometimes it’s 100 dollars, sometimes a bottle of wine. So you never know what to expect: it could be a jackpot! Accordingly, you are likely to be curious and motivated to open the door, regardless of what you are doing.
Let’s get back to dogs, because it looks similar for them. If your dog gets the same chunk of food every time he is called back, he will get bored in the long run. If, on the other hand, you come up with different things, it remains exciting for him.
The more you consider your dog’s needs, the better the reward will be.
Examples of a dog’s needs :
Social contact (cuddling)
You see that eating is only a need among tens of others. You can include many of them in your everyday dog training when it comes to rewarding your dog.
Reward Your Dog In a Varied And Appropriate Manner
Your dog’s needs alternate throughout the day. After a long walk on a hot day, your dog is more likely to crave a break or water than a racing game.
When it comes to appropriate rewarding, not only the need but also the right intensity is important. If your dog has been able to sit perfectly for ten years, you don’t need to have a huge party every time he sits down. However, if you do anti-hunting training with your young dog, then the reward should definitely be impressive because of good cooperation.
Tip: Put yourself in your dog’s shoes and ask yourself “How difficult was it for him to show this behavior?”. After that, you can adjust the degree of your reward. Differentiate rewards that are okay and those that are absolutely great. Remember the motto: “The bait must taste good to the fish, not to the angler”.
Play As a Reward
Suppose your dog is running after a rabbit and comes back to you because you called him. This is a great achievement! Your dog may probably be in the racing mood, so a running game would be an appropriate dog reward now. You can run with him yourself, let him chase a ball or throw food that he can follow. This is how you can ideally include the current needs of your dog in your reward.
Playing together is also beneficial for your relationship with your dog. It’s fun and a bond between you and your dog.
My dog Luna would do almost anything for food. That is practical, because food is easy to take with you and quick to get out of the bag. Basically Nobody would speaks against using food as a reward. However, it is extremely boring when the same chunk of food is constantly being fed to your dog. A variety of food must be considered.
Deliciously filled lick tubes
You are sure to come up with other goodies to reward your dog. Food is even better if you don’t give it emotionlessly, but instead add a social element, such as playing together.
Different ways of giving food as a reward:
Throw away treats so your dog has to run after them
Search for treats on the floor
Package treats and he can tear them open
Dig in treats and he can dig them up
Hide treats in cracks in the wall, between roots or in tree bark
There are no limits to your creativity. What is not dangerous for your dog and what he likes is allowed.
Petting As a Reward
I hear from many dog owners that they pet their dog as a reward. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Just like us humans, they are not in a cuddling mood around the clock. Sometimes touching it can even be uncomfortable, for example, if your dog is very stressed.
Since we often touch our dogs in everyday life, being petted is nothing special for many dogs. It’s ok, but listening to the callback would be asking too much.
As friendly praise, petting is okay. If you want to teach your dog things that are difficult for him to do, the reward should definitely be more impressive.
Hunting As a Reward
“What, should I let my dog hunt?”
No, of course not, at least no deer, rabbits or other animals. There are good substitutes in the form of toys or food bags. You can work well with these “prey” if your dog has a passion for hunting.
Hunting is a very important need for many dogs, even if it is no longer pronounced in some. However, if your dog enjoys it, you should definitely include it in your reward options.
Rewarding Your Dog Properly Is Worth It
You may be thinking now that this sounds pretty complicated, but it only seems like that at first glance. It is far more complicated for your dog to find their way around our human world and to meet our often high standards.
By monitoring your dog closely and discovering his preferences, you can quickly get an overview of what he likes.
Not only will the result be a happy dog, but you’ll also find that you enjoy practicing and rewarding more.
Dog owners are divided about the use of dog muzzle. Some reject it completely and see it as an cruel restriction for their dogs. The others find it a great relief. The fact is wearing a muzzle is inevitable and beneficial to all sorts of dogs and humans. Your dog is aggressive and may have already bitten humans or other new dogs and that will happen again. Perhaps he is also very afraid of the vet or defensive and cannot be treated without a muzzle for protection. Sometimes, you want to prevent your dog from eating food found along the way. In some states, law requires that some dog breeds have to be muzzled when in public, even if they have shown no signs of needing one. However, dog muzzles should never be used to curb misbehavior or to punish your puppy.
The reasons why a dog has to wear a muzzle are different. Whatever the reasons you want to use it, you should get your dog used to a muzzle. In this article you will find out on how best to train your dog to wear a muzzle, what are the common mistakes and how to avoid them.
How to Get Your Dog Used to A Muzzle
Many dog owners find it difficult to muzzle their dog. Even if their dog has already bitten human, some people still shy away from it. For them, a muzzle is something negative that they do not want their dog to face.
As the owner, you are responsible for your animal, but also for your environment. A muzzle is not only a protection, but also it helps you relax. You no longer have to worry that your dog might bite or eat something poisonous. The more relaxed you are, the better it is for your dog.
Getting your dog used to the muzzle takes time and patience. Depending on what you need the muzzle for, models in different shapes and sizes come into question. Before you actually start dog muzzle training, you should take your time to decide on a suitable one. It should fit comfortably on your dog, not to rub or squeeze and not to restrict its view.
Train Your Dog to Accept A Muzzle Step By Step
This thought is helpful for anything you practice with your dog: put yourself in his shoes. Imagine someone wants to put such a strange object over your face. How would you feel about it and what would make it easier for you to accept the object?
You would probably like to take a look at the item first. And you would be happy if there was a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. It’s the same with your dog. The more pleasant the mood, the better he can learn and get involved in new things. The goal is that your dog perceives the muzzle as something positive and is happy to have it on. After all, your dog should probably wear it in situations that are stressful for him, for example visiting the vet. If he were to perceive the muzzle as negative at that moment, it would increase his stress.
Step 1: Exploring the Muzzle
For the first time, the muzzle should be introduced to your dog in a low and progressive manner. Show or place the muzzle in front of your dog. Your dog can sniff at it and familiarize itself with this strange item. Praise your dog for every approach. You can also give him a treat every time he approaches the muzzle. Repeat the process several times. This will create a positive association with the muzzle.
Step 2: Practice Putting on the Muzzle
Now it’s about putting the muzzle on your dog slowly. Your dog should voluntarily stick its nose in. It’s important that you don’t force him. Put a few chunks of food inside the muzzle or smear something tasty like a liver sausage in the front.
If your dog does not trust the muzzle, you can also put the food near the muzzle. If he takes it from there, you always put it a little further inside the muzzle. Gradually place the treats further inside and encourage your dog to stick its head all the way into the muzzle. In this step, you leave the latch open without fastening it and reward your dog when you remove the muzzle. Your dog can pull out his nose at any time.
Gradually increase the length of time from seconds to minutes when you leave it on and reward your dog if he stays clam. Don’t wait unit your dog get fussing or pawing to take off the muzzle. If you have a very anxious dog, you may need more time than a very curious one.
Step 3: Extend the Duration
Now the goal is for your dog to stay with his nose inside the muzzle a little longer. To do this, you no longer put the food in the muzzle but give it to him from the outside through the grid as soon as his nose is inside. This allows you to reward the desired behavior. To extend the duration, you always wait a little longer before the reward. Do it in small steps to achieve a sense of achievement. The lock of the muzzle is still open during this practice.
Step 4: Fasten the Muzzle
Your dog voluntarily sticks its nose in and stays in for a short time? Then you can try to fasten it. With this step you put the muzzle on your dog slowly, close the lock, praise your dog and take the muzzle off again.
It should not in a conflict or fearful situation for your dog when practicing this procedure. You should familiarize yourself with the muzzle beforehand. A click fastener is easier to close than a buckle. On the other hand, a click-lock makes a noise when closing, which could be uncomfortable for the dog. Therefore, make sure that you do not close it right next to its ear and that you close it as quietly as possible. A buckle is a bit more difficult to close but quieter. If your dog is very sensitive to noise, this kind of muzzle may be the better choice.
Adjust the neck strap loosely at the beginning and tighten it later when your dog accepts the loose strap without any problems.
Step 5: Putting on and Starting
If the previous steps work without any problems, you can extend the duration with the muzzle fastened. Remember that the muzzle is unfamiliar to your dog. It affects his communication, his field of vision, his possibilities for sniffing or playing.
So now your dog needs time to get adapted to it when he’s walking. Maybe he’ll even try again to take off the muzzle. To prevent that from happening, you should reward him when you remove the muzzle. The longer the muzzle is on, the greater the reward. You can distract his attention by playing a game of chase. The aim is for your dog to be muzzled for about 30 minutes.
If all five steps work, you can take your dog for short muzzle walks.
Step 6: Putting On the Muzzle In Different Places
In the future, you may have to muzzle your dog at the vet or when you are out and about. These are completely different environments for your animal than their relaxed home. Therefore, it is good if you practice putting on the muzzle with him in different situations so that it becomes normal for him.
Common Mistakes in Muzzle Training
There are also a few mistakes that you should be aware of when it comes to muzzle training. The most common mistakes include a lack of patience, but also nervousness. Don’t put pressure on yourself or your dog. Better start the whole training program like a trick: with fun and ease! You can also be generous with praise and rewards.
It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the muzzle before training and to practice opening and closing the buckle. It is very uncomfortable for your dog if you impatiently fumble behind his ears because you cannot handle the latch.
Another error is the incorrect posture. Be careful not to lean over your dog head-on, as it looks threatening from his point of view. It is better to crouch on the side next to him and hold the muzzle so that your dog can simply stick his nose in. To do this, you should not hold the muzzle too high or too low in front of his face.
It is important to end each practice with a reward. If your dog struggles or paws at the muzzle, it means you have expected too much too soon. In this case, you should take more time to do the previous step until your dog accepts it.
It can take a few weeks for your dog to fully acclimatize to the muzzle. During this time it is necessary that you repeat the steps described above several times a week. Avoid exposing your dog to situations that might lead to fear, anxiety, or conflict. Don’t leave the muzzle on for too long, because your dog is unable to pant effectively or may overheat in hot summer days.
Conclusion – it depends on getting used to
A muzzle is just as much aid as a chest harness, a collar, or a transport box. With all these things, it is important to familiarize the dog with it step by step and to get it used to it in a positive way. If you have succeeded in setting things up, a muzzle can be a great relief for your everyday life. Your patience, which you need to practice, will then pay off.
Who would not like a well-behaved, obedient dog? In reality, however, dog training is a lifelong task require time, patience and consistency. It also differs depending on the age, breed, and environment a dog belongs to.
Not everyone has the opportunity to train their dog from puppy age, and not every dog experiences everything necessary to become a well-behaved dog in the important phase of socialization. Nor does every dog owner have the opportunity to regularly attend a dog training course. That’s why you will find an overview of all our articles and advice on the subject of dog training here.
Why Dogs Need Ttraining?
Proper dog training lays the foundation for your dog to stay physically fit, mentally alert, socially engaged, and emotionally happy. A well-behaved dog makes living together a lot easier. Be it staying alone, walking on a leash, coming back safely, or leaving something to eat, these are just a few common behaviors your dog should learn. In addition, there are many commands such as sit-down, stand, or stay. The better your dog knows how to behave, the fewer problems there are.
You cannot take a dog into a restaurant that barks constantly because it wants attention. You cannot let a dog run free when it hunts. If your dog jumps on strangers, they won’t find it funny either. So you have to teach your dog which behaviors are desirable and which are not.
Fortunately, dog training is not a book that suits every pet parent. It is important to understand that you speak a different language than your dog. Therefore it is your task to find common communication with him so that your dog can understand you.
So dog training means helping your dog to find their way around in the human world in order to avoid conflicts with humans or animals and maintain a long, happy, and safe relationship between you and your dog.
Don’t Let Problems Arise In the First Place
What’s a problem in dogs anyway? If you live in an out-of-the-way area, you might not mind your dog barking in the garden. On the other hand, if you live in a densely populated area, the whole thing looks different.
So whether your dog’s behavior is an issue depends on the context and on whether it is a burden for you or those around you. What was not a problem today can become one if living conditions change. Then you will probably need to start looking for training opportunities and solutions.
It is best, of course, not to let behavioral problems arise in the first place. You can do this by training your dog how to behave properly from day one.
However, some behavior also arises from external influences. Biting, for example, can make your dog fearful of fellow dogs.
So there are problems that you can influence or avoid through dog upbringing and there are some that arise from external circumstances.
What Options Are There for Dog Training?
There are many different approaches in dog training, some of which are based on outdated knowledge or incorrect assumptions. Training methods that cause pain, scare, or intimidate your dog is exactly what you must avoid! All forms of violence, including intimidation, can deeply damage your dog’s trust in you.
To make dog training an enjoyable and fulfilling activity, you should opt for a positive reinforcement method that is rewards-based, fun, and effective. Dog training based on positive reinforcement helps dog owner understand how their dog thinks, learn, and communicate. In return, dog parents know how to reward their dog’s preferred behavior in real-life situations.
The key points here are encouraging desirable behavior and preventing undesirable behavior, without frightening, or hurting your dog. In order to reward your dog in a varied way – not just with food – it is necessary that you deal with its needs. Of course, this form of training also includes encouraging and challenging your dog. The result is a good relationship with your dog that is based on trust and security.
“My dog doesn’t need a lot of commands. The most important thing for me is that he comes back reliably. “
This sentence expresses what most dog owners want: a dog always comes back when called. However, reality may let you down. You call and call, but your dog doesn’t think about running to you? For many dog owners and their loving dogs, there is a huge gap between the wish and the reality.
Why is the recall of your dog such a big issue? You will find out all of this in this post.
All dog owners want their dogs to come back quickly when called.
“He Should Just Come Back”
I’d like to ask you something. How many times out of ten times does your dog react quickly to your callback and come running back purposefully? You probably answer that it depends on the situation. If you are walking on the usual route where nothing exciting is happening, he may come back quickly.
Your dog is sniffing and distracted.
But if he sees another dog at that moment, then there is probably less chance of calling him back. If he is stuck upside down in a mouse hole, then you may have to repeat your recall several times or even collect your dog yourself.
In this example alone, we are dealing with three different situations.
Your dog is not distracted
Your dog sees a friend
Your dog is digging
This list can be supplemented by many situations where your dog is distracted by his environment while you call him. And these distractions affect whether you’re recalling your pet dog is effective.
It is likely to prevent your dog from listening to the callback.
Distractions Make it Difficult to Turn Away
The more your dog’s attention is captivated by something, the less likely it is to notice you. But you want even more than that. He should get away from the distraction and walk away. What sounds so easy to you is a huge challenge for him.
Maybe your dog is happy about what he is looking at right now? Then it is understandable that he is reluctant to walk away from it.
Perhaps what’s attracting his attention also frightens him? Even then, it is difficult for him to turn away from it because to do so, he would have to let the supposed danger out of his sight. Looking at it, however, gives him a sense of security.
Maybe he is reacting aggressively to what he perceives? This is also a reason for him to keep an eye on this distraction by which he feels threatened.
In addition to environmental distractions, there are also activities your dog is doing that will grab his attention. Digging, playing, sniffing, swimming, or hunting are just a few of the things dogs love to do. Coming back is rarely one of those things unless it has a lot of fun for your dog. And that’s exactly where the key to success lies: to make sure that the callback is something interesting for your dog. After all, you are interrupting him doing something that is important or pleasant to him.
You can recall your dog by rewarding your dog as variedly as possible, so he is happy coming back.
Use the Right Reward
In order for the dog recall to be an effective signal, using the right reward is the key. This doesn’t mean just treats, but everything that your dog enjoys. The better you know what he likes, the more effectively you can reward him. This is exactly one of the various keys to success and yet it is often ignored. How often do I see a dog getting a few boring treats, even though it has just done a brilliant job? From your dog’s point of view, this is disappointing and not exactly an incentive.
Use high-quality rewards such as fresh liver sausage or even a game with his favorite toy. Offer your dog something that he likes and enjoys.
However, it is not just a matter of the right reward, but also a matter of giving it appropriately. You can be creative. The social part is too often underestimated when it comes to rewarding a dog.
The basic rule is that the reward should please your dog, not you. There is the saying “the bait should taste good for the fish, not the angler”. What you feel good can be felt quite differently by your dog. Maybe he just doesn’t want to be petted because he’s so excited. Then he finds your patting on the head not so nice.
Dog recall should be fun.
It’s the same thing if you leash him immediately after he comes back to you. The leash means “fun over”. If that is the consequence that he has reacted to your recall, then your four-legged friend will consider whether he will come back in the future.
Therefore, be sure to praise and/or reward him before you put him on a leash. If you are not sure whether you can let it run freely, a tow line is a good idea for you and his safety. This is ideal, not only for the recall training phase but also for the hunting dogs.
Let’s take a look at dog walking without a leash. This usually also means your dog is at a greater distance from you. If your dog is in your vicinity, he will probably hear you well. He can also see you, which also makes things easier.
But if he is far away from you, you have to give your signal louder. However, a whispered “here” sounds different than the one you call in a loud voice. In addition, your dog does not see you so clearly – if at all. Thus, you need to practice the recall at a distance with your four-legged friend.
But you can also make mistakes when practicing. If you only practice in the same environment, for example on the field or in the garden, your dog still does not know what the signal means in the forest or in another different environment. He has to learn that first by training him.
Body language is also crucial when calling back your dog.
The most common mistakes when setting up a callback
In addition to the already mentioned, there are other mistakes that make the dog recall difficult for you.
There is no clear signal Sometimes you call “here”, sometimes “come” and sometimes something completely different. This is confusing for your dog. What you need to do is a clear signal that associates with a positive consequence. Only in this way can your dog understand you.
You call your dog whenever something exciting comes up. Instead of coming to you, he looks around to see where the pedestrian, cyclist, or other dogs he is expecting are, after your signal. Your callback has become an announcement and therefore fails to meet its target. You can only interrupt this cycle by consciously giving the signal again when there is no distraction around. Alternatively, it can make sense to rebuild the callback from scratch.
You don’t take the recall so seriously. You would like your dog to come over, but you have no desire to take action. Instead, you just let your dog run freely and hope that he will somehow come back to you. Your dog will feel your listlessness or lack of seriousness. Your recall has become more of a sham signal to others that you are doing something. It is clear that you have little chance of success.
You underestimate your dog’s desire for freedom As a puppy, he followed you well, but since he reached puberty, has he simply stopped hearing your recall? As a small baby, dogs still have a strong need to be around their humans. As young dogs, however, they develop a clear urge to explore and be free. In addition, the hunting instinct comes into play. Now it is a matter of targeted recall practice so that your dog comes back to you.
Expectations too high Many dog owners underestimate how difficult this recall is for the dog. They have very high expectations of their four-legged friends but don’t want to do much for their dog to meet their expectations. The wish alone is not enough for your dog to come to you joyfully and quickly. In addition to intensive training, a good callback requires a great deal of understanding of your dog’s needs.
All of these factors contribute to the fact that the recall is not bomb-proof, but rather works at random. With a little luck, your four-legged friend will come back to you. However, you should not rely on this, because both his safety and the safety of other people and animals depend on your signal.
I know that it can be a nuisance to practice dog recall in everyday life. Without perseverance, however, you will not succeed. somethings practicing the recall can be a lot of fun, for you and your dog. It is better to walk a few meters less but practice intensely for a few minutes. You can achieve a lot with it if you practice it regularly.
An effective dog recall is essential so that your dog can run freely without posing any danger to himself or others. In order for your dog to come reliably, it has to be rewarding for him and the signal is given before the reward. You should therefore not save on praise and rewards, but use them as variedly as possible. As long as the recall does not work as expected, you should not take the freewheel. It is better to secure yourself and your dog with a tow line, so you can relax and your dog still has its space. When the recall really works effectively, you can say “Leash off, and run.”