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Dog with Selective hearing

Selective hearing

My seven-month-old Pomeranian is very sweet-natured, but he won’t always come back when he sees another dog. He plays nicely with other dogs, so his behaviour with them is not an issue; he just gets very excited when he sees them. He will lie down at a distance, and then at the last moment get up and run over to play. Not all dogs like this, of course, so I hope you can help.

Nick Jones advises...

This is a recall and control issue. In such circumstances, I would place your Pomeranian on a long training line (30-50ft in length), and use this to control which dogs he is allowed to interact with – using your discretion, as all owners should. There are three stages to using a long line:

  • Stage 1 – Holding it at all times for full control
  • Stage 2 – Allowing your dog to drag the line, as your control and confidence in him increases
  • Stage 3 – Finally, removal of the line, but only once you’ve put an e ffective, reliable recall into place.

I suggest that you take at least a month on each of the three stages to ensure a good outcome. Here’s an example of how the longline recall method could help you:

Your dog spots another dog and wants to run over, but you decide he should come to you instead. When you call him, he will do one of two things: either come straight back (unlikely at present), or run into the other dog’s space and be beyond your control until you reach him. If he does come back, reward him with lots of praise and some high-value food, keep him with you for a short time, and then release him, walking away from the distraction (in this case, the other dog).

If, on the other hand, he ignores you, simply use the long line to stop him reaching the other dog, reissue your recall command with lots of enthusiasm in your voice, and use your selected food treat as a lure. (If he is more toy-driven – I’m thinking something like a squeaky ball on a rope – then use that as his reward instead.)

Taking a steady and persistent approach with this will gradually remove the concept that ignoring you is productive, or even possible. Your puppy is still very young, so put in the time and effort to get this behaviour installed and working for you.