Fendi, true to her Doberman nature, is EXTREMELY intelligent. She is always hyper-focused on what she is doing. This makes her a joy to work with, but can present its challenges if the thing she is focused on is not you. Living downtown there are TONS of distractions; people, puppies, sirens … the list goes on and on.
I am still working on consistent outdoor recall using just Fendi’s name. I find when we are outside, at the dog park for example, just the name is not enough. Even though she may twitch her ear back, she often stays laser focused on whatever she deems more worth of her attention.
I have been using these commands to regain control & attention. I also use them consistently throughout walks to ensure her focus is on us & provide additional mental stimulation throughout the walk. I also find them very cute & bonding as I feel they create a really strong bond.
- LOOK – My personal favourite, this command tells Fendi to immediately look me in the eye. This really brings her focus to me. It is very easy to teach. Using a treat as a lure, say the word “Look” and bring the treat directly between your eyes. Repeat until you no longer need the lure. Once Fendi is looking me directly in the eye, I have her full attention. As a bonus with this command, if she is out of arms reach she will trot over because she knows she will get praise or a treat.
- TOUCH – I personally use my palm as a marker, but you can use anything really. This command instructs Fendi to gently touch her nose to my palm. I taught her this by saying touch and gently touching my palm to her nose. I repeated this a few times before keeping my hand static and letting her come to me. I gradually grew the distance before giving her the command.
- HERE – The most obvious recall command, but the only one Fendi will ignore if something more interesting is going on. She responds to here perfectly at home & on midnight off leash walks. We are still working on this at the dog park and during distracting times. I try to give her extra praise for this command & not immediately removing her from whatever fun she is doing so to not associate it with leaving her fun behind. I also Find using “Fendi LOOK, good look, here” gets the best response.
After every success I always say “Good *insert command here* Fendi” in a positive tone. As previously mentioned, we se both food & affection rewards (food rewards work best for her). I use all these commands throughout the day & daily activities as well as dedicate at least two training sessions at home daily. Some days she has off days were she seems distracted and less motivated, although most days she is beyond eager. If she is in a mood, I stay firm & positive while ensuring to end each session & walk on a good note. Consistency is key!