|Posted by gooddogdc on March 17, 2014 at 11:10 AM|
With the warmer weather right around the corner, I am working with many of my clients on increasing their dog's off leash reliability. Of course, your dog has to have all of the basics first - sit, down, stay, leave it, and a basic level recall. I also think it's really important that you are walking your dog daily, and that when you walk, you're dog's leash is loose 99% of the time. This tells me that your dog understands the concept of walking with you and moving with you - turning when you turn, stopping when you stop, not yanking your arm off just because your dog sees another dog or a squirrel.
If you have all of those things, then my next major step for you would be to get your dog playing with you. I mean really playing. Obsessed with playing with you. This is very important. I find that the majority of dogs, especially young dogs, are not as motivated by food as they are by play. If you can get your dog facinated about playing with you, then you will become the ultimate squirrel or the ultimate other dog. Your dog will be facinated by you because you are FUN! You will have instant recalls because your dog will be so happy for the opportunity to work with you.
I think the easiest ways to get your dog very interested in playing with you are tug and fetch. Build up these games gradually to get your dog obsessed with them. I've found that almost any dog can learn to play these two really fun games. Many dogs start with low to mild interest. The more you play, the more this will build until you have a dog who is fully committed.
If you are wondering how to teach your dog to fetch, here is a quick video I put together with my dog to help you get started. I am throwing the ball pretty far in this video. If you are starting with a dog who doesn't know this game, begin by throwing the ball just a few feet.