Helping Amy Teach Her Dog To Come When Called
When Amy called me she was desperate.
¨Hey Gabe, Daisy loves going to the park, but the minute I take her off leash she runs to the water, which as you know is pretty far¨ She told me.
“What do you do when that happens?” I asked her.
“Well, I call her, but she doesn’t come. Then she takes off, so I have to go all the way to the water. She doesn’t listen to me.¨
¨Where are you when you call her? – I asked again
“What do you mean? I’m at the park¨
“Are you between her and the water, or is she between you and the water?” I replied
“I don’t really know, I guess she is between me and the water because I usually end up chasing her”
When I went to the park with Amy and her pup Daisy I saw exactly what was happening. Because I already new the deal I stood between Daisy and the way to the water. Then I told Amy:
¨When a I say come please drop the leash”
As soon as I said come, Amy dropped the leash and Daisy rushed to me. Well she didn´t rushed to me, she was rushing to the water, but I happened to be in the way.
We repeated this several times. Every time Daisy came to me I gave her some pads, and cuddles, I played with her a little bit and then took her back to Amy to repeat the process.
In very little time Daisy was coming to me when I was calling her. But even more important she was not rushing to the water anymore. She was staying around with us.
Amy was astonished, she couldn’t believe it.
How did the dog learn to come when called so fast?
It happened fast because I didn’t impose a method to Daisy. I simply saw where gravity was and I used it in my favor instead of against me.
Amy was calling Daisy after taking off and from behind her. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I was calling Daisy before she was taking off and I was on the way where she was heading. Gravity was in my favor not against me.
Note: I never got into the WHY Daisy was going crazy about rushing to the water. I just noticed that she was fixated into rushing towards the water. We humans love to get into the WHY of things and create science fiction stories around it. Dogs don’t really care about our stories.
The really important thing here is not the WHY but the HOW. How Daisy was performing this behavior, what state of mind was she in? If Daisy would’ve been in panic mode this would´ve never worked. I would’ve taken a completely different approach.
Dasiy was not afraid, she was fixated or obsessed with the water. That’s why she was running. Typical Bulldog behavior. Daisy is a bulldog.
Fixations or obsessions have a clear straight line direction towards something. They are easy to spot.
Anyways, by standing between Daisy and the water I broke that cycle where she was getting stuck. By calling her name and knowing that she was going to come to me I created an association between the word “come” and the action Daisy coming to me. Once you know what’s going to happen it´s a matter of repetition.
According to Einstein, and I quote: ¨definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.¨
I would suggest to inverse this quote and use it for training : ¨do the same thing over and over again and expect the same results.¨
Make sure you use it wisely! 😉
© Gabriel Riesco, Fairfield CT, March 5th, 2018
Read Part 1 of How To Teach Your Dog Come When Called, Gravity.