Today’s post from deltacanine.net is about teaching your dog how to load up in your car. The video below shows me training my 2 year old Dutch Shepherd, Scout to enter the vehicle through the open passenger window but you can tailor these steps to have them enter the car through the trunk or open door.
As with all training, start small and work your way up. You want a firm foundation before you move to the next step. If you move forward before you or your dog are ready, it makes it even more difficult as you progress to higher levels.
The “Tacticool” Load Up
I decided it would be a wise idea to put some sort of protective barrier up to prevent scratch damage to the paint. The best I came up with was a thick towel. It was a very good idea but I should have placed a towel on the hood as you will see from the outtakes at the end of the video. Lol lesson learned: your dog is full of surprises.
Phase 1: On-lead
Since Scout has an understanding of jumping on and over obstacles I began with her in a “foos” facing the open window a few feet away. Before attempting the load up, your dog should be able to on command “hup” up on objects. Standing next to Scout, I gave the “load up” command and moved towards the open window. She’s smart dog and knew instinctively she had nowhere to go besides through the open window. As she went through it, I gave her a “Good load up” matching the tone of the issued command like we talked about in this article.
We did this a number of times, increasing the distance progressively until I decided it was time to go off lead.
Phase 2: Off-Lead
There isn’t much difference between Phase 1 and 2 except now she doesn’t have a lead on. You start close and once again work your way out. If you have trouble and the dog balks or clowns around immediately go back to the lead and work with it for a while before attempting off lead again. Don’t give the dog the opportunity to become accustomed to disobeying you off lead. Be consistent.
Phase 3: Out of Position
Now comes the fun part. Put the dog back on-lead. Place them in a “sit” in front of the open window. Put the end of the lead through the window and have your dog wait while you walk around the car to the drivers seat. Pick up the end of the lead and give the “load up” command. Once the dog is inside the vehicle, unload them and set up the exercise again. Do this a couple times (lol yes, this can be good exercise for you) until the dog has a good foundation.
Now its time for the test. Set your dog up a few feet from the car. Take off their lead, (yes you heard me, its time to take that lead off). Put them into a “wait” while you get into position in the car. When you are ready, give them the “load up” command.
Your dog should have just done an off lead load up. Congrats! And no worries if they didn’t get it right this first time. Go back on lead and do it until you are both comfortable and then try again off lead. Be patient.
Now of course its time to elevate both your dogs and your confidence by increasing the distance. Have fun with it!
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