Director of Training Nicole Stewart shares her experiences dealing with “Catchmeifyoucan-itis”. It’s a common ailment, but luckily very curable. If you’d like to learn more, sign up for one of our Recall and Leash Manners classes, starting the week of August 17!
I can’t tell you how many calls I get like this: “My dog gets out of our yard/front door/gate and once they are out, there’s no getting then back – not even for a treat!” For all of you who know Doc McStuffins (for those of you who don’t, she’s a 6-year-old doctor of toys on Disney), she and Hallie would put this in the Big Book of Boo-Boo’s as “Catchmeifyoucan-itis”. Check out this video. This will help you understand a little more about what this means… and sadly, where my frame of reference is these days!
It takes consistency, repetition, and motivation to build these behaviors strongly and reliably. Let’s address each issue above:
If your dog gets out once, shame on them, twice, shame on you, and three times, you’ve got a habit forming. Use gates, crates, and leashes to ensure your dog can’t get out without your approval. You can also teach them to stay when the door opens.
Just because your dog comes when you call them inside, doesn’t mean they know what it means outside amidst all the distractions. Do the following to bridge the gap between what they know and where they know it:
Dogs are pretty much all about doing what gets them pleasurable experiences. Aren’t we all? So, if you associate coming to you with good things, they will likely be excited to do it again.
There are two things I recommend people do in a pinch. This is not what I hope or expect people to do in order to get their dogs to come in any situation. This is for emergencies.
Finally, I like to make lots of learning into games. It keeps the dog interested and enthusiastic about training. Here it is:
Word of advice – avoid playing the game in reverse where you have to catch them. They are fast and on four legs so it’s an unfair advantage. Plus, the more they win that game, the more rewarded it becomes and the better they like it. …and you wouldn’t want to catch the human strain – “icantcatchyou-itis”.
This blog was originally posted on November 4, 2013.