The next stage in my view is a simple game of Hide and Seek. This will train your pup to leave whatever it is engaged in at present, and come seeking you out.
It should feel like a fun game, and it can be played anywhere. You could do it regularly at home for . . .say 5 minutes a day, or you could do it when the opportunity arises, which tells your dog, that anytime you call, it should discard whatever it was doing and come and find you.
The Whole Dog Journal goes into detail with this kind of game, but I would summarise it as follows:
Your dog is having a relaxed snooze in the garden. You walk past it, go into another room and call out its name eg:’Fido’ then “Find me” . The first time you may have call out 2-3 times, but when it does find you –and this is crucial – you will need to make a big fuss of it, with hugs, pats, and a tasty treat.
It will not take long for your dog to associate the words “Find Me” to a treat, and also to the fun of the game.
Do it a few times inside the house or in the garden, then on a walk where you can let the dog loose, and you can hide behind a tree – not too far away from where Fido is. Eventually you can make the game harder, and quicker, all the time giving it a pat, a hug and a treat. In time you will be able to omit the last bit but keep it up until your dog reacts quickly and properly to what you want it to do.
Once that move is perfected, try some variations. Always keep the same system -
Give Direction Clearly
Wait until all directions have been followed.
Give verbal praise, maybe a pat, and a small food treat.
What you will achieve here has multiple benefits.
1. You can have fun playing with your dog.
2. This becomes a relaxing time for you.
3. Your dog will bond closer because it has fun with you.
4. You are exercising your dog, and getting some exercise for yourself as well.
5. Your dog learns to respond appropriately to your commands.
6. If you ever need your dog to assist you, it will respond as you would like it to.