This week, the pet blogger challenge group is teaching our pets something new. I have been working for awhile on getting my dogs to come in when I knock on the back door or on a window. That allows me to watch them from a window and easily call them in without having to open the door and holler. I figure this will be especially nice in winter! My yard is also rather large, and the dogs seem to tune out a call to come in when they are out of sight of the door.
To teach the dogs to come to a knock, I used the following steps:
(1) When calling the dogs in I knocked on the door at the same time. My dogs already had pretty good recall, so that made teaching things easier.
(2) I treated every time that they came right away with the combination of a call in and a knock. I did this for about a week.
(3) I started knocking before the call and treating them every time they looked up and/or started to come from the knock before I called them in. I did this for about a week and slowly lengthened the time between the knock and call.
(4) I started knocking only, but only when they were in sight of the door and likely to respond. I treated every time they came without me having to call. Sometimes I would add a bit of prompt of shaking the treat bag. This was done for another week.
(5) I started knocking on windows and the door when they were out of sight, treating generously when they came.
The whole process was easy and the dogs learned it quickly. An added benefit is that it makes it easier for anyone to call them in from anywhere in the house. I have knocked from an upstairs window before to get them to come to the door!