Off-Leash Check In
Completed Behavior Looks Like: A dog that “checks in” by visually keeping an eye on their owner or physically staying close to their owner when not on a leash.
Hide and Seek: Whenever a dog can see or hear you, they are less likely to check in.
Start in a safe, low-key area where your dog can be off leash or safely on a *long line that drags behind them. A school sports field, tennis courts or your own yard are good starting places. Plan on about 10-15 minutes per session.
Start with your dog on leash and show him you have his favorite food, giving him a few pieces while you un-hook the leash. You will know the food you have chosen is good if your dog is staying with you once you’ve taken the leash off. If you take the leash off while offering the food and your dog runs away without looking back, whatever you’re offering is not very good.
This is still a low-key environment, so choose something good but save your very best for future sessions.
Quietly and at your usual pace, walk around. After 2-3 minutes, bend down and touch the ground with your index finger, staring at the ground as if you’ve found something. Stay in this position until your dog begins to run towards you. When your dog is about 3-4 seconds away, drop a generous amount of treats on the ground in that spot, get up and begin to walk away while your dog discovers the goodies.
Emergency Recall: In this scenario, calling the dog back to you is for emergencies only. If you must call your dog back to you more than once during the session, the session parameters are too difficult for the dog’s current level of training. Creating a less interesting environment should lower the criteria while maintaining current success.
*A long lines length will depend on the size of the dog. You want the dog to be allowed at least five canter strides away. So for a 24 inch tall dog ( A Labrador), this will be about 60 feet and for an 8 inch tall dog ( A Maltese) this will be about 15 feet.