I used a clicker to train Grady but you don’t have to – just be consistent with treating your dog for the behavior you want.
Here are some general suggestions to help you be successful:
Make sure you have lots of really good treats. Remember the goal at this stage is to simply have your dog be close to you and paying attention to you. They don’t have to really “do” anything like sit or stay. If your dog jumps on you and you don’t want that, don’t say anything, just throw the treat on the floor. If you give a treat to your dog while they’re jumping on you, then you are rewarding them for jumping on you. Dogs learn pretty quickly that they will not get a treat for jumping on you and will eventually stop.
You want to reward your dog for being close to you. Your dog will learn that being close to you results in a treat. This will make you very appealing to your dog! Keep the training short – no more than five minutes at a time. During the training, be quiet. The only sound should be clapping.
Here are the steps:
- Clap three times and when the dog looks your way or at you, give a treat.
- Repeat #1 at least 10 times or until your dog consistently focuses on you when you clap.
- Put the dog on a stay, walk a few feet away and clap three times. When your dog comes to you, celebrate! Give your dog lots of verbal praise and a treat.
- Repeat #3 a few more times. If your dog is having trouble understanding clapping means come, go back to #1 and repeat. Don’t over do it. The total time for this exercise should be no more than five minutes.
Soon you’ll be able to clap when your dog is out of sight and they will come running to you. Be sure to treat and praise your dog for being successful.
Check out the YouTube video of Grady learning to come when I clap. I used a clicker but you don’t have to!