I haven’t done a great deal of training with Petey. Regular G-Fish readers know he’s housetrained, albeit with certain ‘excitement issues.’ Plus, he totes knows “Sit.” But that’s about it. Yoda Jeremy’s like, Just work with him a little bit at a time, when you come in from a walk. But I haven’t been.
Until recently, when I started ending our walks with some training on the Stay! command. I’ve been telling Pete to sit down on the step in front of our building’s front door, and rewarding him with a treat. Then, I’ll put my hand out in, like the universal STOP command and say in a firm and slow voice, Stay!
I’ll repeat myself as I back up while maintaining eye contact. Then, I fold my arms in front of my chest and stare at Pete, periodically repeating the Stay! command with my “talk to the hand” gesture. Finally, I release him by excitedly yelling, Come! And he comes running and gets rewarded with another treat and lots of praise.
It was not easy at first. He just has so much damned energy and excitement about him, that starting any new training feels like such an uphill battle. Plus, there are kittens who live in our front garden, and sometimes they pull Pete’s focus away from me. And sometimes, my boy just gets so antsy or excited that he can’t wait for my Come! command and just bounds forward on his own. When he does that, he doesn’t get a treat, and I plop him down back on the step, and we try again.
After only 3-4 days of this (averaging a few tries per walk, which we go on 3-4 times/day), he seemed to get it! No more bounding forward before I gave my Come! command. Even if I waited an extra long time, or went around a corner/out of sight. He got it! I was really proud of him.
Then, I thought to try it out in a different location, like on the path next to our building, and it became clear he hadn’t quite gotten it. Sometimes he’d still bound forward before he was called. So, we’re continuing this training, and whenever possible (no distractions, safe areas where he can’t run away) we’re doing it in different environments. Still very proud of Pete.
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