Why do dogs follow us? Well, puppies follow their humans around because they receive attention or some other incentives, like toys, food, treats, and other rewards for this behavior. When following you leads to treats, playtime, or anything else, dogs will perform it more frequently. They want to get the good stuff out of you.
Today, we will talk about a simple exercise you can try and make your dog follow you.
The Following Exercise
This is a very time-sensitive exercise. It might work with adult dogs, but it works much better with puppies. The best place you can try this exercise is at the trail. When you go trail walking, this exercise will help you make your dog follow you.
Trail walking is the easiest following exercise because most breeds of dogs will stick to that trail. Why? Because that is where all the human footprints and dog footprints are. As well poop, pee, and everything else.
Basically, the trail is self-reinforcing.
Some breeds of dogs go straight off into the bramble bushes. For example, some hound breeds and hunting breeds, like searching for prey. But most puppies stick to the trail like for example a malamute or a husky would never leave the trial.
So, how do you try this game and exercise? Well, start by setting off a distance you are comfortable with. So, you’re walking your dog off-leash.
I would say 10 yards if the dog is more than 10 yards ahead you just turn around and walk away. You don’t signal to the dog. You watch him but you go in the opposite way. You want that dog who’s walking and sniffing things old Sunday in the countryside.
And at one point, your dog asks himself, “Holy cow. How did she get going the wrong way”. If you have a good bond with your puppy, it will come running straight back to you.
You speed up to the opposite. Now if your dog exceeds your comfort distance and you can set anything 10 yards 20 yards 30 yards you hide. Just make your puppy want to find you.
But this is one-trial learning. This puppy looks around and tries to find you. Remember, dogs have an amazing scent. They can sniff you out easily. But when you hide, they cannot see you. And this is where their panic kicks in.
You can try it with adult dogs, gives you amazing centripetal affection. You can use this exercise to practice recall and make things fun while playing. Once you get him to follow you in the trails, you can try it on the open field. Basically, you play Tag you are IT.
Why does it work?
Now if you are wondering why this game works, let’s take a page from some animal specialists and behavioralist experts. There are a couple of reasons why your dog is following you.
The first one is imprinting. Remember, canines are pack animals. We, the dog owner, are part of their pack. Historically speaking, this symbiotic relationship dates back when wolves were domesticated by mankind anywhere between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Benefits of your dog following you
Well, you have your puppy by your side, duh. When your puppy follows you, you have control of his life. You can prevent dangerous situations, like running off and crossing the street when there are cars. Or running to meet and greet a dog who is not so friendly.
Yes, your dog should enjoy roaming free and sniffing around. But coming back to you and following you is a must.
Off-lead time is a privilege. Not a given. When your dog deserves to roam free, let him go.