To help Milka learn the "come" command, I employed Gatsby's help. By tethering Milka to Gatsby, I knew I could depend on his reliable response to initiate a game of follow the leader that would always lead Milka directly to me when I called them. It was just up to me to appropriately "mark" the behavior for Milka by repeating "come Milka" as she followed Gatsby and consistently rewarding her for performing the behavior (don't worry, I also gave Gatsby a treat each time). Initially she did not respond to "come" until the slack was gone in the leash, but soon she started moving even before Gatsby took a step when I said "come." Such fun! You can see in one bit of the video how happy they both look.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND using this technique on your own! Gatsby is a VERY SPECIAL dog who understands his size and is gentle enough to grasp the necessity for taking it easy with all sorts of other dogs regardless of size or temperment, and I am an experienced trainer. If you don't have access to Gatsby and me, you can use a 30 foot lead to teach your dog "come" after you successfully conquer "stay". Stay tuned for details about this alternate technique.
Gatsby makes me so proud. One of my clients, Milka, is staying with us while her humans are on vacation, and Gatsby has been so good acting as her role model for training as well as showing her affection.
Tonight was no exception, and I couldn't help but beam with pride as I watched Gatsby and Milka "wrestle" on my bed. Gatsby remained down on his belly the whole time while Milka climbed all over him, and he would stop to gently groom her with his teeth from time to time when a break was required. It's so refreshing to see an 85-pound dog cuddle with a 6-pound mini Daschund puppy, and I just had to share it.
Thank you Gatsby for helping to show people that big dogs don't have to be scary...it's all about the training, exposure and proper supervision.
Besides teaching your dog to sit patiently in one place, the most important cue is to get him to look at you with a cue word. If you properly associate a cue like "Watch Me" with your dog giving you his attention, you will be able to win the "battle" against distractions all the time.
Start by having your dog sit indoors with you standing in front of him. Watch for his gaze to shift upward toward you. EVERY time he begins to look up at you, say something like "Watch Me" followed by "Good boy" and a treat. After some practice you should move this exercise outside, and eventually you will be able to remove the actual treat from the steps.
The end result should look like...
Growing up in the country in Pennsylvania gave me tons of experience with animals from a very early age. I later pursued a career in horseback riding and also have experience as a veterinary technician. I have a strong passion for animals and have an uncanny ability to connect with all sorts of furry friends.