What are the two words that can solve almost any problem with any dog? Find out.
When people call me for training, it’s generally either to coach new puppy parents, help dog parents with frustrations like aggression, or teach dogs good manners.
What’s the one command I always start with?
No, it’s not “come.” Come is up there, but it’s not the star of the show. In fact, most dogs confuse "come" with "run," especially if their people repeat the command, and then chase them in frustration. So, no–come is not the be-all-to-end-all command.
The magic words that can solve nearly all dog frustrations are “find it.”
Before I teach you how it goes, let me list of all its potential wonders. Here are my Top 10. If you know or discover more, add them to the comment section below.
Use “find it” to teach your dog or puppy to:
- Accept a collar or harness.
- Go into his quiet area or crate.
- Learn leash walking skills.
- Refrain from jumping during greetings.
- Stay in his place during meals and family time.
- Enjoy socializing with new dogs and people.
- Redirect leash aggression.
- Help with separation anxiety.
- Redirect a chewing habit.
Doesn't “find it" sound dreamy? The best part about this exercise is that anyone can play, right down to an eight-week-old puppy and a two-year-old toddler. Let’s get started.
First, stash some treats in your hand, a pocket, or a pouch. Let your dog know you have the treats, then wait until he’s calm to start the game. If he’s jumping or barking, ignore him–he will stop eventually. Remember, if you feed your dog while he’s barking or jumping, you’re teaching him to do just that, not only when he wants food, but when he wants anything else, too.
Once your dog is standing on four paws and quiet–even if only for a second–toss a small portion of food on the ground, at his feet, and say “find it.” Repeat after your dog finishes, looks up, and hold still for at least one full second. Think of yourself as one gigantic gumball machine, but instead of releasing gum, you’re spewing out your dog’s food or favorite treat.
For Puppies and Dogs Older than 14 Weeks
Play this game three to five times through the day for the first week. Keep reading to find out more.