Dog Training – How to Use the Premack Principle to Teach a Dog to Come
Getting your dog to perform a command in a very non-distracting area is not too difficult. Getting your dog to perform a command in an area where there is a lot of activity can be much more challenging. An important command for your dog to perform in a distracting situation is the recall (come) command. When you know how to use the Premack Principle you can practice teaching your dog to come when distracted.
Start off by putting your dog on a long line. Throw a ball or some treats out in front of your dog. Let your dog run up to the treats or ball and get it.
After doing this a few times you are going to throw the ball and let your dog run after it, but this time you are going to bring your dog to a full stop using the long line before she reaches the ball. I want to make this very clear: The long line is used to bring your dog to a stop. The stop should be gradual. Don’t step on the line and possibly hurt your dog. Just bring your dog to a slow, gradual stop.
At this point your dog should be looking at the ball wanting to get to it. You will begin calling your dog at this point. There is a good chance that at first your dog is going to ignore you. Just keep calling your dog’s name until he turns and starts to head back to you.
Once your dog returns to you, quickly praise your dog and then allow your dog to run back and get the ball.
You are teaching your dog that she can get the ball, but when you call “Come” she has to come to you first. This is an excellent command to teach your dog; when your dog comes to you in distracting situations, your dog is much safer. A lot of dogs get lost, injured and killed because they don’t respond to the command “Come.”
As you continue to practice you will see that you don’t even need to use the long line. Your dog will start to respond to your voice every time you give the command “Come.”