In this video:
Tamryn shares instructions and demonstration on teaching Free Food.
Free Food Definition:
A phrase and arm gesture that is the promise no-strings-attached food. Your dog does not have to do anything but come and get it.
No-strings-attached - your dog does not have to do anything once they get to you: not sit or be polite or look at you. They can be as rude as they like - even knock you right over or get you all muddy.
Free Food is a promise that forever means that your dog gets a cookie if they get to you. Every time you say Free Food, you will need to give your dog food. Forever.
Choosing Your Word:
• Choose a word that is unique and doesn't already have an important meaning to your dog.
• A word you are comfortable yelling in public
• Wherever "Free Food" is mentioned, insert your own Free Food word or phrase
Teaching: The 5 Cookie Drill
Practice 1-2 times a day, indoors, when everything is quiet and calm. 3-5 days in a row.
• Start with 5 small cookies - small enough for your dog to eat very quickly
• Stand right in front of your dog. Do not move around.
• Say "Free Food" while widely waving your closed fist back and forth high above your head. Do not say anything else.
• As you say the word and wave your hand above your head, put a cookie piece in your dog's mouth. Do not try to get your dog's attention. If they are looking away, just put the food in their mouth.
• Repeat for the remaining cookies, until you've done all 5 pieces
Test: does your dog know Free Food?
Test whether your dog responds to your Free Food word.
• Get a cookie ready.
• Try it when your dog is in another part of the house - when nothing interesting is happening.
• Say your Free Food word once.
• Do they come running?
• If so - give the cookie. With no strings attached.
• If not - repeat the 5 Cookie Drill to remind them.
How to Use Free Food in Real Life
You need to keep the promise of Free Food.
• Carry food with you when you want to have Free Food as an option.
• If you don't have food, find food as soon as you can - and give your dog lots to make up for the delay.
• Never trick your dog with Free Food.
• Make sure it works! Test it when interesting things are happening to see if your dog comes for Free Food.
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