Week 3

These are the dog training hand-outs for group dog training classes held in Hornell NY. If you are interested in a small group dog training class using positive dog training methods and you are able to bring your dog to Hornell NY in Steuben County NY Sign up for class. Classes are held in the Spring Summer and Fall.

Week 3 homework –
Practice safe place,
practice sit & hand up during heel.
Don’t react. No big deal for scary or exciting things.
Practice stay,
play the come game.
Practice sit in lots of situations.

A Reliable Come ©
Daina Beckman
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

This is in my opinion the most important command you will teach your dog. It could save his life.

Coming to you should be more fun than anything else in the world.

The first step is to find a new word or phrase for the come command. The reason for this is because you have used the word come to do some unpleasant thing to your dog from his point of view. Things such as grabbing his collar, dragging him to someplace he did not want to go, giving him a bath etc. Also the way we use the word come, in many different situations, the dog will never learn the definition of come.
The word or phrase you use should contain a verb. If you use a single word such as Here, you should repeat it: Here, Here. This is because of human communication behavior. For example if you use the word come you will notice when you say it the tone is demanding or threatening. Now say Lets Go Home. You will notice you have a lilt to your voice.
The word you choose should not rhyme with the dogs name or any other command or negative words such as no or bad.

Some suggestions:
Lets get a biscuit
Lets get a treat
Hurry hurry
Zippidy doo dah
party party
lets go shopping
to me to me

Next come up with a treat that is like winning 10 million dollars to your dog. I recommend something like boiled liver. Try a few different things to see what he really loves. (check the poison food list to avoid problems… no pork) You will never give your dog this treat at any other time. He will only get this treat when you are practicing come or playing the come game.

To begin simply walk up to your dog and while placing the treat in his mouth say the new come word. Repeat this 5 to 20 times until your dog is excited about it. Make sure when you say the word that it is a very happy tone of voice. Not a demand. It should be an invitation to the most wonderfully exciting thing in the world. You can even begin to laugh and do a little jig while shoving the treat in his mouth… make it a dog party.

Practice in front of the mirror. Do you look and sound like you are giving him is winning lotto ticket? Think how excited you would be telling someone you love so very much just won 10 million dollars. That is what the command should sound like. Dogs love a party. You are trying to convey a lot of excitement; the best dog party in town is next to you. I can’t express enough how important is it to sound very happy and excited when you give the command for come. This seems to be really hard for people and they give up very quickly. Don’t be stingy with giving happiness. Think back to your childhood when perhaps you were sharing the excitement of your birthday or Christmas booty with a friend. Be happy!

Now try to call your dog from about 10 or 15 feet away. Be just as excited as you would if he were 100 feet away and you won the lotto. As soon as he starts to come toward you get very happy with lots of praise… Good Boy Hurry Hurry. Repeat the praise line until he is getting his treat and a very happy petting.

Keep increasing the distance. At some point your dog will be distracted by a smell or something else. Don’t give up on your dog or yourself. Believe he will come. Keep repeating the command until he starts to come, Say it happier and more animated if he isn’t coming. As soon as he turns to look at you begin the praise. Make sure your voice is not weakening, keep up that happy party sound even though he is not responding right away. If you give up and don’t have the confidence in both yourself and your dog to handle this command all the way through, your dog will not believe you. If he is really distracted try getting animated with your body. Clap your hand, tap on your legs, Jump up, run backwards a few steps, run 5 steps to the side or toward him, then run back the 5 steps. Use a squirrel call or some other fun sound along with the continued happy command.

The Come Game
Get the help of a friend or several friends. The more people playing the better. Be sure to instruct your helpers on how important it is to sound really happy and give lots of praise as soon as the dog starts to come.
Start where the dog can see everyone. Take turns giving the come command and praise when he responds. It won’t take very many repetitions before he figures out that this is a great game. When you see that your dog understands what is going on change the game. You will give the command, when he comes lots of praise. As soon as you are done praising the next person starts to call him, you now move to a different spot. When each persons turn is over they will move to a different spot or room. Be creative as your dog understands the game better. Hide behind doors, around corners etc.
If you have to play alone with your dog then suddenly call him when he is in another room. You can also place him in a down stay or a sit stay while you move to a new location for the game.
When you dog has the come game down pat in the house play outside. Be sure you are in an area where he can’t run away. If you do not have a fenced area then you can purchase a 25 foot lead and have one person handle the lead keeping up with the dog as he runs from person to person. Hide behind bushes and trees, move around. Make it harder and more interesting for your dog. You could also prop the door open, and have people moving around both inside and outside.

You should practice saying the command and handing your dog the treat daily once he understands what the new come word means. 2-3 times a day should be enough. Each person in the house should practice giving the dog a treat while saying the come phrase happily. Practice the come came at least once a week. You need to practice these every day for at least 90 days and then practice regularly to maintain the training.

Most dogs and owners master a recall with the methods taught during the obedience level 1 class. I do offer a class for Really Reliable Recall if you need it.

Practicing sit.

Remember to only say the command and give the hand signal once. You want the nose to go up and back. This will place the dogs fanny on the floor. Be patient. Let your dog think. Refer to last weeks hand out for instructions.

  1. Sit at the door when guests enter (no jumping up!)
  2. Sit to have leash and collar put on before going out.
  3. Sit when front door opens for walk until released to move forward.
  4. Sit in the kitchen to avoid counter surfing.
  5. Sit while food is being served at the dinner table.
  6. Sit while food bowls are being put down to prevent rushing the bowl.
  7. Sit before getting in the car so you can load it first.
  8. Sit when you open the car door so your dog doesn’t jump out into traffic.
  9. Sit at sidewalk curbs to wait until it’s safe to cross the street.
  10. Sit and look at you instead of barking at other dogs on a walk.
  11. Sit to prevent your dog from running off.
  12. Sit while you get your keys out at the front door.
  13. Sit to clip nails on front paws.
  14. Sit at the top/bottom of a staircase so you don’t trip over your dog.(I usually train dogs to go first on stairs to prevent tripping or bumping into you)
  15. Sit before owner throws favorite toy. Repeat for each toss.
  16. Sit before taking down the baby gate or before coming out of the crate.
  17. Sit calmly to have front feet dried off in rain/muddy weather.
  18. Sit patiently while owner pets or treats other dogs in the household.
  19. Sit stay while owner pays for items at the pet supply store.
  20. Sit stay while others pass by when you’re on an off-leash hike.
  21. Sit stay to keep dog from getting over-stimulated by any exciting situation.
  22. Sit to give a “high 5” trick.
  23. Sit to do the “say your prayers” trick.
  24. Sit to do the “sit up and beg” trick.
  25. Sit stay on a walk when you stop to pick-up after your dog

Psychological Heel Ignoring Distractions ©
Daina Beckman
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

Continue to practice the psychological heel close to your home. In the front yard, on the driveway, in the back yard. You should stay close to home for about 4 weeks depending on your dog and how quickly you are getting the pack restructured. If I have given you specific recommendations follow those. Remember to stand up tall, pick something out and walk toward it. Keep the leash loose.
By week 3 you should be getting to the point where you can only feel the weight of the leash in your hand. If you dog is still pulling follow any specific instructions that I gave you such as the find it game, walking backwards a few steps then have your dog sit as you take ½ step closer to him. Try turning in the opposite direction more often. Remember not to ask permission to heel. If your dog is getting really good at sit, then try heeling for 5-6 steps and give a sit command, keep repeating this.

If your dog is pulling away use a sound to get his attention to bring him in close to you and treat and praise when he does. You can also drop treats on the ground close to you so that he is on a loose leash picking up the trail of treats.


It is important that your dog learns to focus completely on you as pack leader. Remember for the 15-20 minutes that you have been practicing the heel; there is no sniffing, peeing, pooping. Your dog is at work. No one gets to play or goof off at work. You need to learn to ignore distractions if your dog is going to continue on to the next level. If you are heeling and you hear a car, look at it or in the direction of the sound then try to ignore it. It is no big deal. Remember a look is a reaction and you are trying to learn to not react do not look at your dog.
You still have to be aware of the environment so that you can lead the pack away from upsetting or exciting things. I recommend always moving in the opposite direction of anything that is exciting to your dog be it happy, fearful, or angry.
There will be times when a person approaches. You have seen dogs focus on someone approaching many times. Stay relaxed and focused on your dog with your body language. Feel happy that the person is approaching smile at the person this will help your pheromones and confidence.
Place your dog in a sit. Stand tall with either your whole body or one leg in front of your dog. You can make visual contact with the person so that your dog knows you are aware of the intruder and are addressing it. If it is someone you need to speak with place your dog in a sit, ask the person to ignore your dog until he is relaxed. Remember to keep your body up tall and in control, a confident, happy leader.
If you hear loud noises such as sirens or gun shots; simply say “it’s no big deal” and continue to work.
It is important that you don’t start to think that your dog is going to react to something. Expect that your dog will not react no matter what he has done in the past. If you start to think and worry about reactions from your dog he will hear your heart rate increase, your respirations increase, smell your pheromones change and see your body tense. All of this tell the dog that he should react to the thing.
Practice visualizing that nothing is going to happen when you pass by that dog down the road or a skate boarder comes along, or what ever sets your dog off. Practice visualizing your dog remaining calm when people approach. See him in your mind standing or sitting calmly. If you practice this in your mind you will be able to stay in control of your reactions during walks.
If you react to a sound your dog will think it is something to worry about. If your dog becomes frightened by the sound, let him stay in a standing position. Do not look at him. Say “I’ve got it” in a confident it’s no big deal voice. Stand tall, look around then head back in the house. Once inside practice a couple of sit or down commands and then end the session on a positive note. Dogs can not think once they have had a fear experience.