I recently finished reading, “Bonding with Your Dog: A Trainer’s Secrets for Building a Better Relationship” by Victoria Schade.
I’ve been feeling like Delilah and I are not bonded, hence her tendency to ignore me on off-leash hikes. As with any thought I have, it could of course be wrong. But I’m going with it for the sake of this post.
This book was suggested to me by Pamela, at Something Wagging in one of my comments a while back. I downloaded the book on my Kindle and then took my time reading it.
Why? Well two reasons really.
1) When I read a training book, I want to take notes. I want to highlight areas of interest and I find that I don’t do that with my Kindle.
Yes I know it’s easily rectified with the highlighting option on the Kindle, but then there’s the pesky matter of trying to find it.
2) Most dog training books I’ve read give LOTS of stories, emphasizing the lesson.
I want the lesson.
Quick and dirty. Give me the story later. I’m trying to bond with my dog here. :-0
Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book, BUT I got so caught up in the stories that I sometimes forgot the lesson.
Ok, maybe it’s just me and my menopausal mind.
ANYHOOO, I’m not going to give you all her tips here (that would spoil the book for you) but I will say one of her suggestions was talking to your dog while walking. After reading the book I realized, I already do that and quite frequently.
I also realized I could be sending Delilah mixed messages.
Delilah’s command for returning to me is HERE. Sampson’s is COME. Don’t ask me why because I couldn’t tell you if I had to.
Since I talk to them while we’re walking I noticed I say Come on, Over Here, and This Way when we’re walking. So how is Delilah supposed to know when I say Here that it means, get your butt back pronto?
As humans we are capable of understanding how words are used in different contexts, but dogs aren’t. They haven’t as yet developed that skill….notice my use of the word yet. (I have high hopes for my dogs.)
I started working on a new command with Delilah. When we’re walking and I see her turn and look at me, or she starts running toward me I sing (and yes, it really sounds like I’m singing) Check In. As soon as she reaches me I give her a treat and tell her good check in.
Once she’s checked in, I can very easily (and sometimes do) give her another command, or play a quick game of kibble catch.
For Delilah the only thing Check In means is she is getting a treat. That’s it.
So many times with our dogs we will call them to us, and clip a leash on them or something else that in their eyes equates to my fun is done. Why would a dog like Delilah want to return to someone who’s putting the kibash on her fun?
Yeah, I don’t know either.