Someone sent me a link to this news story about a Texas dog owner being caught on video (taken inadvertently by a neighbor’s Ring security camera) beating her dog. The person whose security camera caught the event posted the clip on a social media site, where it was viewed by neighbors – and eventually, a local law enforcement officer. The local police department shared the video even more widely, asking for the community’s help in identifying the woman. Eventually, the woman was identified and questioned. Her explanation for her behavior? “Police say the woman admitted she hit her dog after she was forced to chase him when he ran from home.”
Well, beating and kicking him is a great way to make him want to be home. (SARCASM ALERT.)
It should be obvious that hitting and kicking a dog teaches a dog NOTHING (except perhaps to run faster from his or her abuser next time).
It’s strange to me, however, that many people struggle with keeping their dogs inside when their doors or gates are open – and with being able to recall their dogs from some tempting fun.
Train a recall often and make it fun
When people come to my house, they will undoubtedly be met at the door by my canine greeters. When I open the door, many (if not most) people who don’t know my dogs personally will initiate some sort of blocking maneuver, as if to prevent the dogs from escaping out the door. I am forever saying, “It’s okay! They aren’t going anywhere! Look, they come right back!” (Of course, I could tell my dogs to stay inside instead of allowing them to go outside when I’m letting someone into the house; they’re perfectly capable of holding a sit-stay or down-stay indoors – but I rarely consider this, as it’s not even slightly a problem if they slip outdoors; I can call them back without fail.)
I’m not bragging; their recall is something we practice constantly, if not daily. And it’s not a chore or a drill, I keep it fun! Often when I call them, it’s to initiate a game of fetch or hide-and-seek. Sometimes they get lunch meat, or scraps of my lunch. Sometimes I call them in from chasing a squirrel – and their reward for a prompt recall is encouragement to go chase the squirrel again! I keep our recall practice unpredictable, enjoyable, and always rewarding in some way.
Here’s how to train – and maintain – a solid recall
For more about keeping your dog’s recall fresh and quick, see the following WDJ articles:
Training an “Extremely Fast” Recall: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/leash_training/training-your-dog-to-execute-an-extremely-fast-reliable-recall/
Using a Long Line to Teach Off-Leash Recalls: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/on-leash-training-blossoming-into-off-leash-reliability/
Games for Building a Reliable Recall: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/leash_training/games-for-building-reliable-recall-behavior-for-your-dog/
Also, here is a good one about stopping a door-dasher, without any beating or kicking required: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/behavior/put-a-stop-to-door-darting-dogs/