Now that Dom has learned to trust me a little, and has gained some confidence, he should be able to concentrate on learning how to come when he is called.
This will have to be taught in steps, starting with name recognition. To do this I will use the other dogs in a name recognition game, one that was so successful for my last Boot Camp puppy, Loki.
For his first lesson, I took all the dogs out in the back of the property, just to evaluate how Dom was going to react to his name. He pretty much ignores his name and is caught up in all the happenings.
The next step is to call each dog by name and hand out treats. If Dom doesn’t respond to his name, another dog gets his treat.
This game works really well in a number of ways. One of the nicest things about it is that it teaches all the other dogs who’s who. Therefore if one is missing, or I call, the others will automatically look for the correct individual and sometimes even help find or alert him/her. Handing out cookies to specific dogs requires the others to wait their turn. It is an exercise in patience and reduces food aggression.
This game usually settles into a dog’s mind pretty quickly and it’s a great way to start training the recall, if you have the advantage of living with trained dogs. It works well in classes too though.
In the beginning, it doesn’t look like much. But the glimmer of recognition is just starting to work its way into Dom’s overstimulated brain.