It’s a Saturday morning and you’re enjoying a peaceful stroll across the fields. With you is your full-of-life Boston Terrier. He’s intelligent, lively and as friendly as they come. But while it is his nature to be friendly, it doesn’t half cause problems on occasion. One minute you’re looking at rolling fields stretched out ahead, the next you’re calling after him as he charges into the distance to say hello to another canine on the horizon. The only problem is there’s a road in-between him and his new friend. Fortunately, there’s no traffic this time. Next time though, you might not be so lucky.
You need to re-assert your control and ensure you can call him over in moments like these. Training him to come when called could save him from serious injury one day.
Training any dog to return to you when there are distractions around is challenging. What makes it challenging in Boston Terriers is their need to say hello to any human and dog they come across. The trick is finding the right incentive. Like most dogs, they do love their food. If you can lure him away enough times you can build a habit where he comes every time when called. You’ll need to use consistent obedience commands to get to that stage.
If he’s a puppy he should be eager to please and a fast learner. You could see results in just a few days. If he’s older and stubborn you may need a little while longer. You could need up to three weeks before you reach your end goal. Get this training right and you’ll never have to worry when you take him off the leash again.
Before you start training you’ll need to gather a few things. You’ll need a clicker and a long leash for one of the methods. A friend will also be required for one method.
You should stock up on treats or break his favorite food into small pieces. Cheese is often a wise choice. You’ll need to set aside 10 minutes each day for training. Training can take place in a large yard or when you’re on your daily walk.
Once you have the above, just bring patience and a proactive attitude and work can begin!
We use a harness type leash that goes around the chest. Problem is he pulls very hard when we try to get him to walk on a leash other than in our yard. He is very good in our yard, but otherwise he pulls very hard. I make him sit to calm him down and try again but the problem remains. What do you advise? Thanks
Hello Denise, Does the leash clip onto the harness on his back or at his chest? If it clips at the back, that type of harness can actually naturally encourage pulling because there is a natural drive in most dogs to push against pressure. I suggest switching to a front clip, no-pull harness. If he is already using a front clip harness and even if he is not, he needs to learn to actually focus on you during the walk and not put his head past your leg while beside you, so that he is actually in the following position. A dog is far more likely to pull in a forward position with their head past your leg. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Turns" method. Focus the most on turning directly in front of him at a ninety-degree angle as soon as his face starts to move past your leg while he is next to you. If you turn too late when he is already pretty far past that point it will be hard to turn in front of him and correct it. The turns help him learn to pay attention so that he is keeping up and so that he doesn't get bumped when you turn. The turns in front of him also communicates through body language that he needs to respect your space in that area, so it tends to help with respect some. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Expect your walks to involve a lot of circles and walking in squares while training. I generally suggest going on walks in your front yard, cul-de-sac, or park while teaching this so that you have more open area to practice. Don't worry about how far you walk distance wise; as long as you get in similar number of steps he will be just as exercised, and sometimes even more tired from having to focus as well during the walk. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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