the best place to be….

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    the message is – ‘the best place to be is around my feet – sometimes i will tell you to go play, have a pee, run and chase, but even so the best place to be is still around my feet, but i am happy for you to not be there at this moment in time but when i call you you will come back cos the best place to be is around my feet’

    when the dog realises he/she has a choice and decides that the best place to be is elsewhere – then if you allow it to continue/happen then he/she will make the choice to not be around your feet and will hunt, play, because he/she has decided the self rewards of freedom are better and will also use it as a means of controlling you for attention. ie the dog is also learning to push your buttons.

    when this happens in the nutty stages of life – ie when the sexual instinct is strong or a hunt has been very successful and he/she has actually found out there is a reward greater than what you got in pockets – then take it all back to criteria 1, when fluent criteria 2, when fluent criteria 3, when fluent criteria 4 – then and only then test it at criteria 5 – it is a pain in the butt – the dog will work to avoid you managing him/her, he/she will make you cross, frustrated, guilty to the point where you wished you could stay in bed and forget his/her’s exsistence, the dog will make you feel that you are depriving him/her of exercise, playtime. the dog will look at you and be saying ‘this is serious neglect’.  TOUGH – he/she will survive – and the more you deprive then the faster you will get the recall back because the dog will realise that he/she has to do this to get that final reward. ie being allowed to run/hunt/play but under management from you.

    most car accidents involving dogs are due to a bad recall, most livestock being injured/chased are due to a bad recall, most dogs shot for worrying livestock are due to a bad recall, most dog fights are due to a bad recall. most dogs running off and getting lost are due to bad recall.
    you cannot stop the genetics kicking in – but you can manage them and for anyone reading this that is about to get a puppy – you will reduce the possibility of going through this if you do not take the puppy out off leash until you have:

    recall to criteria 4
    location to criteria 4
    leash to criteria 4
    leave it to criteria 4
    STOP to criteria 4

    and if that takes 6 weeks or 6 months so be it. brose had a fluent and reliable recall without hesitation to 95% by 20 weeks – yes i know, i am a trainer she is a superstar but if ever the day comes that she fails a recall i will shoot us both.
    Now – manic maud   just so you know that i do know what you are up against – if i can do this with her – and it took me 9 months – then you lot can do this with pups.

    the best place to be is around my feet


    How do you get this ‘total focus on you’ / ‘looking to you for cues’?

    Is it by practising anything specific, like the location/heel work, or is it more general than that.  More general trust and reliance on you, and respect for you, the relationship you build with the dog, by providing food, playing, training, protecting etc.



    it is all of that plus coresponding to the dog communicating to you – so if he is off free playing he will naturally look at you every few seconds – this is called looking to cue – the dog is saying ‘is this ok’ ‘can i carry on’ ‘are you going to tell me to do something else’ if you ignore this then the dog will reduce the number of times he does it and sometimes it goes altogether – i am always fascinated by ‘silent’ walks – folk out for a stroll with dog and in a world of their own. my dogs look at me after 3 behaviours – a turn – a nose in a bush – etc – each time they get a ‘go play’ ‘walk on’ or a cue like ‘stay by’ – ‘wait up’ or even a’good girl/boy’ anything to maintain focus. once it is lost it is hard to get back.


    ooh ooh you heard it here first – i am fascinating

    quote :

    i am always fascinated by ‘silent’ walks

    claire x


    i spend half of my life walking with folk and dogs saying – speak to him/her – s/he is looking at you – you dont talk to the dog enough haha – but yes claire – you are top of the  silent walker list at the moment ;D ;D


    And that was me  😀


    my throat is sore  :-[


    Tai just doesn’t seem that interested in me at all when we’re out on the lead.  Much more interested in sniffing, eating grass and bark.  I do speak to him, cue him to heel, say watch, stay close, good boy, and give him treats when he responds.  He’ll be okay for a few steps, then pulls off to sniff etc.  Maybe I need higher quality treats (using baked porridge oats + carrot & cheese), got some liver so going to make liver cake.

    When we took him to the field, on long line, he did check in frequently and we said good boy, or go play or something to acknowledge his look.  But now, the walk to the field (only about 5 mins if we could go directly) involves so much pulling, stopping and turning, we don’t go every day.  We’re thinking he’s getting rewarded for all the pulling when we do finally get there.

    Are we doing the right thing?




    I am not sure if this will be exactly right as you have a puppy and my girl is older (20mths) but I’ve just gone through this myself 🙂

    You are right in thinking that the more you let him pull and get rewards for it the more he will pull 🙂

    This is what we have done with Bonnie who pulled too until Kiz came to sort us out !

    Start with her in a wait position next to me and wait till she settles and isnt pulling with her on my left i lead off with my left leg (a visual cue) and say “walk on” “heel-close” if she gets so that her bum is level with my leg i turn around 180 degrees and say “this way” “walk on” “heel-close” (you have to get these cues in fast – and also praise good girl when shes doing it … hence sore throat !!) if shes going it OK i say “good girl” or “good heel-close” if she starts pulling off again turn 180 degrees and “this way “walk on” “heel-close” if she does it again i put her into a wait and wait till she calms down and we try again.  You also need to get your leaveit’s in before she sniffs them out (know all her usual sniff places and my leaveit is there 2 paces before if its static 5 or 6 if its moving or likely to move) you need to do 1 cue at a time so if you are saying leaveit you need to wait and acknowledge it is left (and give time) before moving on to another cue 🙂

    **nb: praise “good girl” is SO important to bonnie that its almost like a treat bless her – if it isnt quite there with no actual treats smear pate on the back of your hand and offer that as a reward if she’s doing it ok – not tried this yet 🙂

    I do my best to go out every day as bonnie learns better outdoors for some reason, if your dog learns good indoors you can start with doing it off lead indoors.  then in your garden, then take him outside.

    As he is little still I might be jumping the gun a bit – parker has a l’il poop maybe she can find a post with what to do for l’il poops 🙂  pleeease parker 🙂

    Claire x


    Thanks Claire, I’ll try what you say.  It’s sort of what we’re trying to do, but not using the rapid cues you describe.

    Thanks again for your advice.




    I was doing the same – only completely silent until 6 weeks ago

    It took me 2yrs to train wills like this to stop pulling and he’s still not great, bonnie is better than him after 1 session !!!

    Claire x

    p.s. i think kiz is coming to scotland in oct / nov to see that mad weime lady *hugs*  :-* :-*  if u near i definately reccommend a session just to build confidence 🙂  even 1 session will help heaps 😀


    Hi sorry been up most of the night with a demon >:D

    What is it you are actually trying to get/know? 🙂

    Tyson(18 wks) is so much better off lead than on but he is also great onlead. He had alot of trouble with the lead at first he would sit outside and not budge it took alot of coaxing with treats and when we did eventually make it to the park he enjoyed it so much that he would walk perfect on the lead and back home, but going out again he didnt like but we got there in the end when he knew he wouldnt get to the park unless he walked there.

    He always looks to cue, it is catching it and watching him thats the key. We are working on the stand off as he will see another dog sit there staring and then look at me, this is looking to cue so I treat him etc.

    pulling on the lead, you have to stop everytime he pulls, wait until he stops pulling then carry on walking dont say anything just stop if he pulls and walk on when he stops. If he looks to you then treat, this will encourage him to look to you  🙂


    this thread is about Molly who was 7 months at the time


    What an eye opener!

    And here was me thinking that my dog was quite well adjusted as he was happy to take himself off and have a play with his toys, or have a snooze in another room whilst my husband’s dog barely leaves his side (well unless it’s cold and the fire’s lit 😉 ). 

    And yet I wondered why my dog has no interest in recalling to me and my hubby’s dog does it fine (not 100% yet, but I doubt it will take much).  S

    So my dog doesn’t want to be with me!  What sort of owner am I?


    how does he communicate with you?

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