How to Train Your Dog to Not Attack Chickens

Hard
2-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You’ve always loved the great outdoors. You like being immersed in nature with a variety of animals roaming around your property, from dogs to chickens. But having such a diverse home can come with its own challenges. Does your dog have an appetite for your pet chickens, for example? Do you want to be able to let your chickens and dogs wander around freely, but don’t want to lose another chicken to your canine friend?

Your chickens may be part of your livestock, you may depend on them for eggs and dinners of your own. If you can train your dog not to attack the chickens, you can finally have the harmonious home you envisaged. You will be able to relax when it all goes quiet and not panic whenever you start to do a chicken headcount. Otherwise, your fear is that Chicken Run, the movie, may become chicken run, your reality, and your chickens will become determined to escape.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog not to attack the chickens will require a number of different elements. You will certainly need obedience commands to retain control over him when he is around the chickens. You will also need to take steps to familiarize him with the chickens. 

As you can probably imagine, training him not to attack the feathered members of your yard will be no straightforward task. This task is made even harder if your dog has already developed a taste for chicken, or he is older and stuck in his ways. However, with persistence and patience, you should be able to train him to behave around chickens in a few weeks or months. It is important you succeed in this endeavor if you want to protect the lives of your chickens and possibly any other animals you have on your property.

Getting Started

Before work begins, you will need to round up several things. You may want to get a body harness for training. This will help you retain control and reduce the strain on your dog's neck. A secure leash will also be required Before starting the process, spend a few days cementing your bond with your dog so that he is keen on listening to you.

You will also need an abundance of treats or his favorite food to act as both an incentive and reward. Apart from that, you just need an optimistic attitude and a good degree of patience, then you’re ready to get to work!

The Stop & Pull Method

Most Recommended
3 Votes
Stop & Pull method for Not Attack Chickens
Step
1
Getting ready
Secure your dog to the leash and safely stow your chickens in a coop. Once they are both safe and secure, slowly head over to the chickens.
Step
2
Be vigilant
Keep an eye on your dog's behavior and wait for him to pull or lunge. As soon as he goes for the chickens, say "STOP" loudly and firmly so he knows you mean business.
Step
3
React swiftly
Pull him in the opposite direction and walk away. Ensure you do this at the same time as you say "STOP". He will quickly associate his aggressive behavior with being pulled in the opposite direction and a stern tone from his owner.
Step
4
Small steps
Edge closer to the chickens every few days. Every day you need to take him toward the chickens, following the steps above. After several days or weeks, you will be able to get closer to the chickens before he shows signs of aggression. This is progress. It may be slow, but it was always going to be, so be patient!
Step
5
Lose the leash
When you can walk your dog around the chickens without showing signs of aggression, you can remove the leash. It may take many weeks or months to get to this stage, but when you can finally lose the leash, stay very close to him for the first few leash-free encounters.
Recommend training method?

The Drop Method

Effective
1 Vote
Drop method for Not Attack Chickens
Step
1
Get his attention
Take a treat and hold it in front of your dog's nose. You are going to teach him to drop when you command him to. This will increase your control around the chickens so you can quickly get a handle on his behavior until he cuts all signs of aggression.
Step
2
Slowly lure him to the ground
Use the treat to bring your dog's head to the ground. You may also want to gently push his back down to encourage him to begin with.
Step
3
Drop
Say "drop" firmly as he approaches the ground. Then, as soon as your dog is lying down, give him a treat and praise him. It is important you give him the treat within 3 seconds of lying down, otherwise, he won’t associate the 'drop' with the treat. Practice this every day for 10-15 minutes until he drops when you instruct him to, without the promise of food.
Step
4
Head for the chickens
Walk slowly, giving him verbal and physical attention as you approach. Then as soon as your dog shows signs of aggression, stop and have him drop to the floor. As soon as he does this, reward him with a treat and praise. Removing the positive stimuli of you giving him attention is known as positive punishment and he will quickly respond to it.
Step
5
10 minutes daily practice
Slowly make your way closer to the chickens, ensuring you have your pup drop whenever he turns aggressive and see to it you always praise him up until the point his behavior changes. Over many weeks, he will begin to understand he gets zero attention as soon as he turns aggressive. When he is finally comfortable around the chickens, you can reduce the frequency of treats and remove the leash.
Recommend training method?

The Restrain & Reward Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Restrain & Reward method for Not Attack Chickens
Step
1
Setting up
Secure your chickens in a pen and put your dog on a leash. Ensure you have firm control over the leash and then prepare to head towards the chickens. A body harness will help you retain control if he is big and strong.
Step
2
Slowly approach
As you are approaching, constantly praise and pet your dog, and even reward him with a treat. You are showing him that this calm behavior around the chickens will prove fruitful.
Step
3
Cut the praise
Stop all praise and rewards as soon as your dog displays signs of aggression. Also stand firmly still until he has calmed down. This will show him that as soon as he changes from passive to aggressive he’ll stop receiving attention and he won’t be able to get any closer.
Step
4
Step by step
You don’t want to rush this process, so take it extremely slow. If you get several feet, reward him and then take him away and play with him for 5 minutes. The next day, go back and try and get several feet closer. The trick is to slowly build familiarity between your dog and the chickens in a steady, controlled manner.
Step
5
Repeat
Repeat this process until you can walk around the chickens without your pooch displaying any signs of aggression. Only after many weeks, you should finally be walking around the chickens with your dog. Once you can walk around them calmly, slowly reduce the frequency of treats. Finally, when he hasn’t shown signs of aggression in many weeks or months, you can take him off the leash.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Skivvy
AnimalBreed object
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Skivvy
AnimalBreed object
2 Years

He plays with the chickens till they fall over and died, he doesn't eat them or bit them he just runs through them and send them every which direction until they are exhausted then I have dead chickens everywhere. He thinks it is a game and it is a pain in the bum

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
93 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. This is something that with some time and patience, can be turned around. Skivvy needs to learn that the chickens are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach him to become less excited by the chickens. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching him "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking him out on leash.Any time the even looks at a chicken, you give the command leave it. Once he breaks his attention away from the chicken, you reward him with a treat. Ideally, you want to him to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as he isn't focused on the chicken, you can reward him. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the chickens until he is no longer interested in the chickens. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dogs. The chickens need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Question
Shaggy
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Shaggy
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

My family has chickens and ducks, while I was away he was in the care of a relative and killed three in a week then killed four more the next and two more its really fruastrating because my family wants him gone he bit a duck yesterday...he's not eating it but biting I guess where he stays sometime and where the pen is,are relatively close how can I get him to stop he was not doing it while I was there but he has gone mad now.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
93 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. This is something that with some time and patience, can be turned around. Shaggy needs to learn that the chickens are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach him to become less excited by the chickens. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching him "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking him out on leash.Any time the even looks at a chicken, you give the command leave it. Once he breaks his attention away from the chicken, you reward him with a treat. Ideally, you want to him to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as he isn't focused on the chicken, you can reward him. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the chickens until he is no longer interested in the chickens. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dogs. The chickens need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Question
Biscut
AnimalBreed object
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Biscut
AnimalBreed object
6 Months

I have a lab/ Great Pyrenees puppy. He was doing very well until today. Yesterday when I was fishing in the pond out back I noticed Biscuit was starting to stare at the chickens and he was paying a lot of attention to them. When I noticed this I started to take his attention away by calling his name every time he even looked at one. By the time I finished fishing he barely looked at them. Well today while I went inside for lunch he broke the fence and went into the chicken pen. He killed one of my chickens. When I went out to check on him I found blood and egg yolk all over his face and paws. I tried a lot of different training techniques and it seemed to be working. The thing is my parents had told me that if he killed a chicken he’d go to the pound or I’d have to give him away immediately. I know he’s a good dog I just need to figure out what works for him. Would tying the dead chicken around his neck and leaving it on for a week work? I’ve read it works but I’m not sure about it.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
93 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. This is something that with some time and patience, can be turned around. Biscuit needs to learn that the chickens are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach him to become less excited by the chickens. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching him "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking him out on leash.Any time the even looks at a chicken, you give the command leave it. Once he breaks his attention away from the chicken, you reward him with a treat. Ideally, you want to him to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as he isn't focused on the chicken, you can reward him. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the chickens until he is no longer interested in the chickens. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dogs. The chickens need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Question
Astor
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Astor
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

I cant get him to listen to me, and he won't stop killing chickens

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
93 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. This is something that with some time and patience, can be turned around. Astor needs to learn that the chickens are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach him to become less excited by the chickens. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching him "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking him out on leash.Any time the even looks at a chicken, you give the command leave it. Once he breaks his attention away from the chicken, you reward him with a treat. Ideally, you want to him to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as he isn't focused on the chicken, you can reward him. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the chickens until he is no longer interested in the chickens. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dogs. The chickens need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Question
Beagle
AnimalBreed object
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Beagle
AnimalBreed object
2 Months

My mom has been wanting a beagle since I can remember. I finally found some beautiful beagle near me and I would love to gift one to my mother. But we have free range chickens and I know beagles have a high prey drive. How could I train a beagle to not chase after our chickens when we let them out? If I put them in the same pen together since he is a puppy will he get used to them and not want to chase them? I could use some help please and an opinion on wether or not I should buy him.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
93 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. This is something that with some time and patience, can be turned around. The puppy will need to learn that the chickens are just a normal part of the household. So we need to teach him to become less excited by the chickens. If you are up for this, it is going to take about a month of consistent practice before you see results. You will want to start out by teaching him "leave it". Leave is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone. Instructions on leave it will be at the end of this response. After about a week or so of working on the command, you can start taking him out on leash.Any time the even looks at a chicken, you give the command leave it. Once he breaks his attention away from the chicken, you reward him with a treat. Ideally, you want to him to be sitting and looking at you. But in the beginning stages, as long as he isn't focused on the chicken, you can reward him. You will literally practice this over and over, while moving closer to the chickens until he is no longer interested in the chickens. While this method takes a while, it is the best in relaying the messages across to your dogs. The chickens need to be left alone! Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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