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quick dog training questions - for the holidays


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My sis is allowing me to bring my dog to Thanksgiving this year as we don't have anyone who can watch him right now.  But, she lives on a farm and her animals are usually not allowed in the house.  However, since one of their 2 beloved labs was killed 2 months ago, she has relented and allows her lonely lab in the house, but only if he stays on his "pillow." 

 

So, my labradoodle is used to the run of the house, so we are working on "go to spot". He does so willingly as long as we have treats.  However, if I move away, his "stay" doesn't always stay. He loves people and would follow them anywhere. Can I have a refresher on how to encourage him to stay on his "spot" (a crate pad) for longer periods of time? 

 

Also, we don't have a fenced yard so my dog is never allowed outside unsupervised.  He will be supervised outside at my sister's.  She has wildlife in her cornfields like coyotes, so that will be a challenge.  I want to help him understand the boundaries of the yard.  How to you teach a dog to respect boundaries.  At home, he mostly stays in our yard unless he chases a squirrel.  I have to run after him, but am confident he will go only as far as the next tree.  He has chased a coyote before and my husband chased him for 3 blocks.  We have a 20 ft lead that we put on him when we are outside so that we have a sporting chance of catching him. 

 

So, what ideas do you have to help keep my dog safe? 

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To keep him safe tomorrow, or this weekend?  Preferably, you'd bring a crate along.  If that's not possible then very carefully and cautiously tether him to a heavy piece of furniture when it's not convenient for someone to hold his leash.  Tether him with a harness, not a collar, and make sure you check on him every few minutes.  Take him outside on leash.  Always.

 

Training a prolonged down/stay takes lots of time.  Lots.  Asking a dog to hold a prolonged down/stay in a strange place with tons of distractions is asking for a very high level of obedience.  It's something you'd have to work on gradually over several months' time.  First you work on longer and longer down/stays at home with no distractions.  You put him in a down/stay on his crate pad and then you back off a few feet.  You gradually increase the time he holds it and the distance you step away.  Then you add in a gradually increasing level of distractions.  Then you attempt a down/stay somewhere away from home, again gradually increasing the time, distance you are away from him and level of distractions.  Dogs don't generalize well, so you can't assume that because a dog understands down/stay on his crate pad at home means he'll understand that at your sister's house or anywhere else.

 

As far as learning outside boundaries -- I'm a big believer in always having a dog leashed in unfenced area, with a human firmly attached to the other end.  Always.  For people who are tempted otherwise, I recommend they read Trust--A Deadly Disease.

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Thanks so much for your input.  I think I had unreasonable expectations.  I am sure the "down stay" with all those possible best friends (people) around will be difficult, but I know it will be difficult for my sister's dog who was primarily an outside dog - he is a lab and super friendly.  He gets into the mailman's truck when he comes to deliver.  He will hop in people's cars if they're not careful.  We do intend to hold the leash, inside and out and use the harness.  However, it is impossible to play fetch doing that and that is one of the best ways to tire out this dog.  We have only played fetch in our yard because he has been pretty reliable and we have some natural boundaries and we are vigilant. 

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