Back to Basics is where I like to go when I feel I have slacked off a little with my Dogs. I know when I’ve done this because my Dog’s will tell me and no they can’t talk but they are masters of communication.
Digging holes, Barking, Not listening or doing things I know they normally wouldn’t are all ways of them letting me know and when I think about it there’s always something which has interfered with their normal routine such as appointments or abnormal work hours.
Sit… Stay… Come… I live by these simple yet reinforcing commands and if I have 1 rule, it’s practice these 3 commands often!
Get the rewards ready and for no more than 10 minutes per session have your dog sit/ reward, stay, come/ reward. These commands should be flowing hence there is no reward on the stay command. You are asking the dog to sit/ reward, stay then walking a few meters and asking it to come/ reward. For the dogs who want to follow you when you’ve asked them to stay, you may need to do this differently by asking the dog to sit/ reward, stay then taking one step back then one step forward and reward. Forget about the come command for now until your dog knows the stay command and you can walk a few meters without it following you.
Note that any rewards must be given instantly or within 3 seconds, any longer and your dog may not relate the reward to the command resulting in confusion. A reward does not have to be food, it’s whatever your dog’s ultimate motivator is which could be a toy, ball or belly rub. Also remember that with the reward must come praise!
Dogs are pack animals and need a routine. Once a routine has been established they will follow you as their pack leader but a broken routine equals instability and they will not follow an unstable leader. So all those people who have used the excuse that your dog has selective hearing, it may just well be a lack of leadership.
Practice sit, stay, come every day to put some routine back into your dog’s life.