Sunday, September 30, 2007

Off-lead training

Last night, Jason and I had chicken alfredo for dinner with lots of leftover chicken. Since the chicken didn't touch the sauce, and was simply grilled, we decided to cut up the rest and save it for the dog. I figured that such a great treat would work much better than anything else for off-lead training.

Since Loki is a sporting dog, he tends to stay close to me, unless I command him to leave. However, when something catches his attention such as another dog, an interesting smell, or a giant pile of dirt, I can't for the life of me get him to return. Yesterday, I reinforced Loki's "come here" command with a high pitched smooching noise at the end by sitting on the couch and letting Loki roam around the house. Today, nervously, I took Loki to the giant field in the backyard and let him roam. He was doing good at first. Didn't want to wander far from me. However, as he grew more confident in his environment, he started roaming away.

I learned today just how fast our dog runs, and how clumsy he is at times. Our dog might as well be a greyhound in my opinion. The only problem is that he has no idea how to stop. He'd prefer running straight into my legs as a way to stop. I had to nearly fend him off by turning on my side and holding up my leg at an angle.

Basically, for about an hour today, I let Loki off-lead and paid him no attention until he left my side. Once he did, I'd call him at random intervals (usually when he was about to get himself in trouble by wandering into someone else's yard or something). It'd be the same command as yesterday, the "come here Loki" with a smooch at the end.

It worked GREAT. When other dogs came around, he'd make a beeline for them, but the second I called him back, he'd turn around. If he was currently sniffing something, he'd also come back. He found a great big pile of freshly dug dirt in the yard, so he spent most his time playing around and digging in that, but the second I called, he'd leave it.

He was exhausted by the time I took him in (also VERY dirty). But hey I learned today that this dog has lots of potential for training.

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