After completing a home pet service I was driving through a back street headed for a main road. Ahead of me I see a small dog running into traffic, it's erratic behavior clearly indicated it was unfamiliar with it's surrounding. Luckily the two cars in front of me stopped as two middle aged men ran after the dog.
Slamming on the brakes I hopped out of my car and screamed "Don't chase the dog. Get down to the ground and call it's name!" Unfortunately the dog was spooked and continued to headed away from the two men.
Thankfully I was able to get ahead of the dog and getting close to the ground I calmly called the dog to me, scooped him up and returned him to his owners.
Turned out the dog was a rescue dog and had escaped from it's backyard. The owners had done a wonderful thing but had missed some very important lessons about rescue dogs or new dogs and that is training. As a dog owner knowing that when you call your dog's name they will come or sit on your call could save your dog from the wheels of a car or worse.
Once you have a dog home, give it time to get used to you and any other animals. Please refer to my earlier blog. Now is the time to start training.
If you have a backyard use that or an enclosed park. You will need to start without a leash. Call your dog to you in a firm but friendly voice 'Come Rex" when the dog approaches and stops at your feet reward the dog with a treat and a "Good Rex". You will need to be patient. Some dogs will pick up on the reward system quickly others maybe totally disinterested.
It comes down to you as the owner to compete this training. I would recommend doing this for at least 20 minutes a day until your dog knows the call and will come to you. If your dog understands the call quickly then cut back on the treats. The reward is a "Good Rex". if you over reward your dog with treats they will very quickly learn when you have treats on you and when you don't. Once a dog knows a call they should be rewarded at this stage every fifth to sixth call.
The next step is to show your dog how to sit. Golden Rule "Don't force the dog's bum to the ground" again this comes down to encouraging your dog to do the call without you forcing the dog to do something it doesn't understand.
The best approach is to call your dog "Come Rex" have a treat ready say "Sit" and slowly move the treat over the middle of their heads. The dog will follow the treat and their bum will go down. Once the dog''s bum is down reward the dog and give them a treat and a verbal "Good Rex"
Again some dogs will pick up what you want, others will twist their heads around or move. That's fine, when you do this exercise have the dog positioned next to a wall. As you say "Sit" and pass the treat over their head the wall will stop them moving backwards. Reward the dog with a treat and verbal "Good Rex" as long as the exercise is completed successfully.
Never reward your pet if the training is not correct by rewarding the wrong thing you are sending mixed messages to your dog and your not been the Alpha leader a dog needs.
Let's think back to the dog that escaped, it's had no training and is clearly upset. When a dog gets out here are some things you need to do.
NEVER chase the dog. The dog will think your playing and will only run faster.
Call your dog's name calmly and in a happy tone. Never scream or throw your arms around. Dogs react the same way as humans if someone is yelling, running after them as they throw their arms around. They run away from the cause of the noise.
When your dog turns to look at you be on your knee's, hands out, call their name again and make a show of having a treat in your hand even if you don't.
If the dog slowly comes back DON"T get off your knees. Stay down, call their name. Don't rush at the dog.
Once you have them, thank the dog for returning. NEVER yell at the dog or be upset with them. The dog has done as asked. Be thankful your dog is with you and alive!