I adopted my dog Maggie back in February, and everything is going great, except one thing. Maggie has full access to our house and backyard all day, but I want her to be inside at night because of our neighborhood’s coyote problem. When I let her out one last time to go potty before bed, she likes to stay in the backyard, and does not come in when I call her. Is there anything I can do to solve this?
Good decision to bring Maggie in at night! We all need to do our due diligence to keep our pets safe from coyotes. It can be extremely frustrating when your dog does not listen, especially when being called. For dogs that like to ignore us, or who have a difficult time listening when distracted, I like to use a technique called targeting, while also teaching the command “come touch.” Targeting gives the dog something to aim for when coming over to you, which makes coming over easier, and more exciting. In this case, we are going to use your hand as the target. To do so:
- Step in front of Maggie.
- Place a treat in your hand, and extend your arm out to the side of your body. Make sure your hand is at Maggie’s level.
- Say, “Maggie, come touch” in an exciting, friendly voice.
- Maggie should smell the treat, and come touch your hand with her nose. As soon as she does this, praise her, and give her the treat.
- Slowly increase the distance between you and Maggie, and continue to call her using the “come touch” command.
- Make sure you have a treat in your hand every time you call her for the first few days. After a few days have passed, and she comes to you every time you call her, start using the treats sporadically, and gradually fade them out. This way, we are teaching her the command without her becoming dependent on the treats.
The “come touch” command works great, and should really get Maggie’s come when called down solid. If you have any further questions, or need any more help, please feel free to send me an email. WOOF!
Alexandra (Alex) Macias has been a certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist since 2008, and is the owner of Alex Macias Dog training, a Long Beach-based dog training company. To ask Alexandra questions for a future article, leave them in the comments below, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.