I thought of something to talk about – maybe you can help me. My dog Cooper has decided he doesn’t ever want to come in the house when he’s having too much fun playing in the backyard. It started a couple days ago, and has only gotten worse.
It all began on Sunday when he would NOT come inside no matter how many treats I offered as a reward (I feel I must tell you that I haven’t taught him how to come inside on command – he’ll only come when bribed). He was enjoying himself too much in the backyard. However, we can’t trust him to stay out there for too long or else he starts digging or attempting to get out through the hedge and rickety fence. So he can only be left out there for 10 minutes TOPS with no monitoring.
So yesterday morning it was impossible to get him to come in and I literally spent 10 minutes on my knees with a treat in my hand trying to tempt him to approach me enough that I could grab his collar and drag him in (okay, not DRAG him in, but ESCORT him in).
It happened again this morning. 6:15 a.m. – I’m on my knees in my bathrobe on the back deck trying to coax Cooper into approaching me. Wasn’t gonna happen. He knows the score at this point. Treat = going inside. Apparently tasty beef&bacon goodness is NOT worth it. I was at my wit’s end. By 6:34 a.m. he had still not come in, had no intention of doing so, and I had scraped up my ankle in an attempt to hold out a treat to him AND keep the stormdoor open at the same time. So I played the trump card. I felt bad, but it had to be done – I was about to be late getting ready for work. I grabbed the leash from inside and called out “Cooper, do you want to go for a walk?” in a really sweet voice. Tail wagging, he quickly ran over to me.
Instead of clipping on the leash I took hold of his collar and brought him inside. NO TREATS FOR YOU!
Before I left for work I snapped on the leash and walked him around the backyard until he finished his business. I’ll do this from now on in the morning. At night I don’t care – at this point he can stay out there all night if he wants. But in the mornings he’s only going in the backyard on a leash – even if I am in a robe and fuzzy slippers.