We start with:
1. Knowing And Loving Their Name. Sounds silly, right? But the truth is that puppies don’t really know their name, AND, if they do, they sometimes (most times?) hear it said in an angry tone, so they learn “When my people say that word “SOPHIE!!!!”, I’d better head for the hills because it usually means something that I don’t like is about to happen.” By just committing to saying your puppy’s name and then following it with something fun and rewarding, you’ll have a puppy who hears his name and comes running to you every time. And that means that even before you teach a formal “Come!” command, your puppy already has the concept of anticipating good things when he hears his name. And since we’re on the subject of coming when called…
2. That Coming To Me Is AWESOME. My puppies learn to chase after me to earn tug games, food rewards, meals, and belly rubs. Every time that happens, it’s money in our “come when called” relationship bank. And, when the inevitable time comes that there is an emergency, and I need my puppy to come to me, guess what happens? He does!
3. If I Grab Your Collar, You Earn Valuable Prizes! Another important skill to learn! Most puppies have a fight, flight, or fear response to having someone grab their collar. And the problem with that is that you NEED to be able to do that – to put his leash on, to guide him where you want him to go, and OTHER people need to be able to do that as well. If he runs away and someone tries to catch him, you’ll appreciate having a dog who loves having his collar grab. Your job is to create a puppy who LOVES to have his collar grabbed and has an expectation of an awesome reward by pairing the grabbing of his collar with feeding him a high value treat, or letting him do something he really wants to do. For example – you grab his collar and then throw a ball for him. Or grab his collar and let him go run. Or grab his collar and then release him to his bowl. There’s so many ways to use this tool to create a dog who says “please grab my collar” vs “you can’t catch me”
For the full list, download our top 10 tips printable below (includes a special bonus!) :