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Come with distractions

Remember your list of distractions-- ranked, 1 to 10?

Okay -- if you ditched that part of class-- do it now! Create the list.  That list is not just distractions -- guess what?  Those distractions are probably your most powerful rewards!

For this exercise you will initially choose a mild distraction-- maybe a 3.

Warm your dog up by doing one or two Ping Pong Comes or Restrained Recalls,

Then set up a distraction (maybe a toy -- but not a super "hot" one-- maybe just a rubber toy...) about 10 feet from your dog's line of travel as he comes to you (assuming, of course, that he comes!)

The variables that we will manipulate to make this easier, (so as to produce a pattern of success, that we can make powerful and repeatable by rewarding it), or that we can make more challenging, (to grow and strengthen the behavior) are:

  • the value of the toy (or other item) from boring to amazing,
  • and the distance from the item.

When your dog succeeds at the Come,  whoop and holler :-), then release him to go get the toy. Alternate with rewarding him from your pocket.

If he veers off to get the toy, rather than coming directly to you--  have your assistant cover the toy, so it is unavailable, or step on the dog's long line, so he can't get to it, or, with the dog dragging a 6 foot leash, go get him, and set him up a bit further from the toy, and try again.

Repeat, adjusting distance, until he is successful, then gradually begin to make the exercise more challenging.

Don't over drill on this-- we want the dog engaged, not bored!

Do continue to do Restrained Recalls, with a Fine Dining Reward or a great game of tug as a reward, so as to keep the dog motivated.