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Whatever your chosen signal, it’s essential to teach your pet that it means to come to your side whenever he sees it. After all, a new signal means nothing on its own until it is associated with a certain behavior.
Start by standing fully in your dog’s line of vision. Give the signal, such as the whistle or the collar vibration, and then use your body to call your dog, by stooping down or backing up. As you do this, toss treats in front of your feet. As soon as your pet comes to you and gets his treat, repeat the signal and the subsequent cue and toss more treats right by your feet. Repeat this process until your dog responds to the new signal and understands the new cue.
In essence, you’re teaching your pet that it’s worthwhile to come and find you whenever he perceives the signal, because he will find treats, petting, toys or some other desirable reward when he finds you. As your dog gains speed in finding you whenever the signal goes off, make it more difficult by steadily getting farther out of his field of vision, which would simulate a real-life situation where your pet may not be able to see you when you call him.
Keep in mind that your pet may have a longer delay in finding you without his hearing, as he mainly must rely on his sight and smell.
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