Recalling Fun Again
Welcome to the 700th edition of Second Chance Pet Column! Unfortunately that huge-eared dog Radar couldn’t get all his information into one Pet Column last week so I have to finish it for him. Such a slacker. So instead of writing about funny cats like me I’ll be writing about how to make pet training fun. It is an important topic so I’ll do it, but I’m also throwing in some of my hilarious jokes.
What do you get when you cross a chick with an alley cat? A peeping tom. What do you get when you cross a cat with a dog? A dog with a scratch on his nose. Today’s Pet Column is about pet training so remember that cats can learn new things too, particularly if you keep it fun.
Pets have fun when they are playing so just make training like you are playing. Then you too will enjoy it more and be more consistent with it. A poorly trained pet is typically directly correlated with an inconsistent (or non-existent) and boring training program.
Here is a playful recall exercise for your dog: Call your dog to you. When he comes, get down on the ground and play, play, play for at least three solid minutes. Repeat randomly throughout the day. That’s it. Now you are ready for the next level of training.
This is a recall game you can play in the house, in your yard, or on off-leash walks. It can be played routinely or as a surprise game at unexpected times. It helps your dog learn to look for you when he hears your recall cue and to come when he’s otherwise engaged. Did you hear about the cat who swallowed a ball of wool? She had mittens.
To get started with the basic game, have your dog wait while you go into another room, or, if outside, get behind a tree or around a corner and hide (if your dog doesn’t know how to wait have someone hold or distract him). Ask your dog to "COME find me" (emphasize your cue for the recall). When your dog finds you, celebrate with a game, happy petting, or a special treat. Repeat a few times, and stop while your dog is still really engaged.
Once your dog understands the basics of this game, you can play the surprise version at various points during your day. For example, when walking outside and your dog is busy sniffing something, hide behind a nearby tree. After you give the cue word and he finds you get crazy happy and play a good game of chase or other favorite (see last week’s Pet Column for more on this). Why don’t cats play poker in the jungle? Too many cheetahs.
Shoot for success. Time your recalls for when you know your dog will easily disengage from his exploring. Do not use hide and seek as a way to frighten your dog into thinking you’ve abandoned him, keep it fun, upbeat, and full of happy reconnections. What is a cat’s favorite song? Three Blind Mice.
My name is Levi. My life started out rough. Fortunately I was picked up off the street but I was a sick and injured little guy of only a few months of age. Since then I have recovered and am now playing happily and recklessly with the other homeless kittens here at Second Chance. I also love to give kisses, cuddle and play with my people friends. I would love to be your new Christmas kitty…
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for over 25 years. Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.