Herding

Shibas are notorious for not responding to the command come. Sometimes they do come, but many times they don't. It depends on what is in it for them. Both of my dogs behave this way. They only come if there is a reason for them to come to you. If what they are doing is more interesting than you, then they will gladly ignore you.

When we first got Loki, come was the first command he learned. He was great at it! But that's because come initially meant come get a treat. Come for attention and affection wasn't good enough for him. Come here, because I don't want you in that room, made no sense to him. Come for a bath was reason to run away. Come for nail clippings was reason to run and hide as if life depended on it.

Unfortunately, when dogs run away from you and hide, that makes you want them to come to you even more! In the beginning when Loki didn't come to us, we tried to bring him to us. We would go over to where he was and either pick him up or grab him by the collar. Then we'd bring him to where we wanted. In our experience, this made him very averse to being picked up and being grabbed by the collar. It didn't take long before trying to pick him up and grabbing him by the collar meant risking a bite. It has taken us years of training with positive reinforcement to get him comfortable with being picked up and being grabbed by the collar. We are still working on those issues today.

So what has worked instead? Herding has worked very well for us. We step into Loki's space (usually from behind), and this forces him to move somewhere else. By stepping into where we don't want him to go, it forces him to move in the direction that we do want him to go. So when he doesn't respond to the command come, we go to him and herd him from behind. Sometimes this requires using tools like a pillow to block off additional pathways or to shoo him out of a tight corner. Herding has always worked for us and has never caused any negative associations or behaviors.

2 comments:

Priscilla said...

I was going to suggest grabbing him before I read about risking a bite from him.
I'm glad you found a good way to get him where you want him to go! :)

Burgy said...

Haha, I have to herd my Shiba as well! The only thing he will ever listen to is "time out" he goes straight to the crate.

He does the same thing Jujube does! I'll say "Diesel Come!" he will just turn and look.

I know he is saying in his head "Ehhh, how about no. This toy is much more interesting!"

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