I would have found it cute if it wasn’t so darn frustrating.
I called Honey to come to me. She just stood there and gave me a look that said, “I think not.”
My “come” cue is poisoned. I need a new word to teach Honey to come to me when I call her.
What do you suggest?
Blaming The Husband
My husband is great with Honey.
Mike carries her up and down the boat ladder all day long. He gives her the best play time in the world. And she adores him.
But he’s a little careless on the training end.
If we’re working on something new, he’s really good. Mike will often notice something I’m doing wrong before I do. And he helps me fix it so we can get back on the right track.
But the every day stuff—being consistent, training every day, reinforcing good behavior? Not so much.
And recall is the worst.
If Mike wants Honey to stop sniffing a dead squirrel, he tells her, “Come.” If he wants her to get her toenails clipped, he tells her, “Come.” If he wants her to pay attention to him instead of the barking dog across the street, he tells her, “Come.”
Are you starting to sense a problem here?
Yup, the cue “come” is absolutely poisoned.
Blaming The Wife
Of course, I’m also to blame.
I’m generally good at consistency and regular training. But I stink at thinking of cues.
Sometimes when I tell her to “spin” I mean she should weave through my legs and turn in a circle. Other times “spin” means spin in a circle.
I know they’re two different behaviors that need two different cues. But I have trouble thinking of a cue I will remember and use the same way every time.
I could just assign any arbitrary word and Honey wouldn’t care. If I said “flower” to tell her to spin between my legs and “goat poop” to tell her to spin in front of me, she wouldn’t know the difference.
Of course, I’d never remember to say flower or goat poop because they have no meaning for me.
And so, even though I know that “come” is a poisoned cue, I can’t stop using it. I keep making Honey’s sloppy recall worse.
Starting Again With Recall
It’s time to start training Honey to come to me Every. Single. Time. It’s too important a behavior to get sloppy with.
But I need a new cue.
- One that Honey doesn’t associate with any other behavior but coming to me.
- It has to be simple to say.
- It has to sound different from any other cue.
- It has to be something other than “come.”
- And I have to be able to remember it.
So I look to you.
What word or phrase do you use to tell your dog to come to you? And do you mind if I borrow it?