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    9 - Work on your posture and hand signals

    9 - Work on your posture and hand signals

    Dogs communicate primarily with body language so it is often easier for them to learn visual cues, which can then be paired with verbal cues. Be clear in your own mind about the hand signals you intend to use and please do not keep them a secret from anybody else who lives with or cares for your dog.

    Be aware of your own posture. For example, leaning forward from the waist when you call your dog, and staying in that position as he approaches might cause him to curve away or hang back. Your body language will appear challenging and he is trying to appease you. Sadly, this in turn can look as if he is being deliberately naughty and refusing to come when called. As a result some people start escalating their own behavior, which will worry the dog even more.

    Marie uses arm signals to recall Oz and Maisie

    If you have called your dog and he is reluctant to come to you and looks very concerned, defuse his anxiety by half turning away; this will trigger him to come to your side. In contrast if your dog always approaches at high speed and kneecaps you on arrival, it might help to take a quick step towards him to slow his pace when he’s a few yards out. When training your dog by encouraging him to use his initiative and perform a behavior of his own free will, (freeshaping) it can be helpful if you sit. This way you are less likely to lean or shuffle or involuntarily give clues; all of which may distract him. It also helps him to know the only ‘clues or hints’ he will get will come with your clicks and treats as he works towards the goal behavior.


    If you are a long way from your dog in fading light, stand tall and use your arms to help him to locate you.

    Sally works out how to target the mat as Marie sits patiently waiting to click and treat

    From 100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog, Copyright by Sarah Fisher, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with D & C

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