How do you wind up with an adult dog who comes when called? There are lot of pieces to that puzzle. A lot of it is practice, practice, practice! But some of the pieces might be genetic. Some dogs have a natural urge to hunt, which can be a tremendous asset, as long as they are hunting for the things you want them to hunt for! But what if they take off after deer or chase cars or squirrels?
It’s important to prevent dogs from rehearsing behaviors that you don’t like. Some trainers use shock collars to stop dogs from chasing the wrong thing. I resist doing that, most especially with young dogs, because shock experiences can undermine a dog’s confidence and drive. It can leave them second guessing themselves and reluctant to experiment — an essential part of successful problem-solving. I don’t want my dogs to be afraid of trying something new.
The method in this video https://youtu.be/SU1XjbmgccI should be just one small part of your larger games-based training plan. This helps you communicate to the dog when he is making a mistake, but without the fear/pain factor that is part of shock/prong training. The head halter to off leash progression teaches dogs around gradually increasing distractions that s/he can’t take his or her freedom for granted! We aim to make this a “positive” association, by showing the dog that responsiveness earns more freedom, rather than threatening a painful experience if the dog makes a mistake. Training this way leads to a happier less anxious and more robustly confident dog, ready and willing to solve problems, and unafraid of trying out new ideas. Thanks for leaving me any questions or comments, here or on youtube!