How to build a better working relationship with your dog

Small fluffy puppy wearing IDC Longwalk harness

Tips from Chelsea at Ultimate Canines

We all want a dog that we can take places, let off the leash where it’s allowable, and not have to worry about him disappearing off after the first thing he sees!

There are a few tips you can try, to help build a better bond with your dog.

Tip 1
Firstly, don’t encourage him to socialize with every other dog that you pass. A quick hello, with the occasional dog, will suffice, and will also stop your dog thinking that every time he sees another dog, it’s time to have a party! When you do not want to your dog to say Hi, ask him to ‘Leave it’ and carry on past the distraction at a good pace. Make sure you praise him once you
have passed the distraction, and he is focused back on you.

Tip 2
Play Hide and Seek often, around the house and the yard, and where it’s safe to do so, at parks and the outdoors. Hide as soon as your dog gets distracted, remain quiet until he finds you, and then praise him up once he relocated you! If your dog enjoys spending time you at home and is focused, he is much more likely to be focused on you when you go out different places.

Tip 3
You can also use different value treats to help teach him that you are the best thing to be near – toss a low value treat such as a piece of his regular dinner kibble, wait for him to find it, and then call him back to you and reward him with something much tastier, such as chicken or cheese.

Tip 4
You can also do some ‘restrained recalls’ where someone holds your dog by the collar, while you run off, then they release your dog once you’ve called him (keep running once you have!) and then reward him with treats or his favourite toy, once he’s caught up to you.

Tip 5
Make him work for his meals at home sometimes – divide them into say 8 or 10 little portions, and he has to do a basic behaviour (Sit or down etc) or a trick, for a portion. This reminds him that is really is worthwhile working for you, and sometimes meals aren’t just handed out for free.

Tip 6
Also take any opportunity to praise your dog when he has chosen to focus on you, over potential distractions. A lot of us are guilty of taking our dog to dog park, letting him off and then just letting him do his thing, without rewarding the good behaviours, and reminding him of what’s not acceptable. It’s more management on our behalf, but you will end up with a much more enjoyable, focused dog in the long run!

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