getting (and keeping) your dog's interest...

So you're frustrated that your dog doesn't respond to you? Does he run the other way when you call him? Does he ignore you when you try to praise him?....

These are all common complaints by my students. Some people feel that their dogs should inherently WANT to please them. After all, we feed them and give them shelter, and we let them take us for pulls (I mean walks...). But that simply isn't true. While some dogs seem to want only to make us happy, others act as if we don't exist. And still others love us until they see a squirrel or another dog or some bird poop on the road. Then we're chopped liver (worse, actually; they'd LOVE chopped liver!)

OK, I can see I've made my point. Here's what to do...first and foremost, practice smiling at your dog when you see him doing things you like. And keep a blank face when you are disapproving of his actions. Doing this consistently will go far toward building a relationship between you and pooch.
Jasmine will sit for treats. Jasmine will sit anytime mommy wants her to sit.

Then we need to find something which will bridge the gap between "I'm gonna do what I want" and "oh please, please, please, let me serve you!!"... let's start with food treats. Most dogs will work for the right reinforcer. These treats each have a value for the dog. Kibble is good when it's in his bowl, but offer him a piece of kibble when he's busy chasing a cat and you can forget it. Try some of these, and remember that what works now may not work in a couple of hours or in a different place.

Leftover Chicken, Steak or Lamb -- Freeze Dried Liver or Salmon -- Salmon Treats -- Venison Treats -- Ostrich Treats -- Hot Dogs -- Beef Jerky -- Freeze Dried Tripe -- Super Salami -- Lebanon Balogna -- Sardines -- Cheese -- String Cheese -- Pupperoni -- Pounce Cat Treats -- Liver Biscotti -- Cheese Wiz -- Tortellini -- Chick Peas -- Carrots -- Cat Kibble -- Croutons

Photo of sample treats for dog training

I always try to feed my dogs only the best. That means less starchy grains (wheat, corn, soy) and more protein. You're much better off feeding liver, steak or chicken than starchy dog treats. Also, the more interesting the outside world is, the smellier your treat needs to be!

In the somewhat unlikely event that your dog doesn't want any of these, try using a toy and play as a reward:

Tennis balls -- Kongs -- Rope tugs -- Frisbees -- Sticks -- Boat bumpers -- Bicycle tires -- Pieces of firehose -- Hockey pucks -- Soccer balls -- Basketballs -- Used plastic soda bottles

You want to pair treats with these toys, and alternate their use, to give more variety of reward. You also want to intersperse these rewards with the ones below to get away from reliance on food.

Use your imagination, and your dog's

And if THAT isn't enough, try activities:
Belly rub -- Go in your house -- Get in the car -- Get out of the car -- Get your leash -- Back Scratch -- Fetch -- Get out of your house -- Jump on the table -- Jump on me -- Give me a kiss -- Fight the hose

Find the thing that really turns on your dog!!!!

Learn more at the Training Hints Page.

Great Companions LLC, Learn To Be Your Dog's Reward
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