Written by Melissa Viera
You are already off to a great start if your dog comes when called, but what does your dog do when they get to you? Do they wait politely until you release them, or do they dash away? Teaching your dog to stay with you long enough for you to "catch" them and attach the leash is an important next step to coming when called. If your dog did get free you would need to get them to come back quickly, but also get the leash on them before they bolt away and engage in a game of chase.
This week's Manner's Monday tip is to teach your dog that being held by the collar is a good thing! These tips are intended for dogs who are too excited, or just can't sit still when you attempt to hold their collar. For dogs who are nervous of being handled in this way a much more in depth approach is necessary. Please do not attempt collar holds with a nervous dog without the help of a trainer .
Begin to work on the collar hold exercise as a separate exercise from the recall. The first step is to get your dog comfortable with you reaching for them. Reach for your dog slightly, and mark/ reward for them being calm and not backing away. As you progress you should see that your dog is very calm and not bothered by you reaching for them. Your dog will learn that when you reach for them a reward is coming!
Next begin to lightly touch your dog's collar which will soon turn into actually holding the collar. You might start out just holding the collar for a split second, but continue working towards longer holds. You should also practice attaching the lead and taking it off again.
Once you feel confident that your dog is comfortable and calm while you hold their collar you can have fun testing your training with the mini challenges bellow.
1.) Can you hold your dog's collar for...
2.) Fill a cup or glass with water and cue your dog to sit. With the full cup in one hand and the leash in the other attach the leash to your dog's collar. How did you do? Did any of the water spill?