Kyle Kittleson documents his adventures with his Labrador, Callie, on his TikTok and recently the pair went viral in October when Kittleson shared how he trained the dog to stay out of the street.
It can be incredibly risky for dogs to navigate a busy road. In fact, in the U.S. 1.2 million dogs are killed on in car accidents annually. While every dog should be on a leash anyway, training them to steer clear of the danger zone is likely the safest course.
“The first step is really easy. You just reinforce your dog for not being in the street. So I’m feeding her, she’s giving me great eye contact. I’m praising her. This is where she earns all of her reinforcement,” Kittleson said as he pets Callie and gives her a treat on the sidewalk.
Then Kittleson moves into the street. But Callie stays. He then gives her another treat to encourage her to remain on the sidewalk. To show how well-trained she is, Kittleson throws a treat into the street. Callie grabs it, but she doesn’t dare step off the sidewalk.
“Now I’m out in the street, pulling her, she’s not coming. I’m telling her great job, she’s doing the right thing,” he says.
But of course, sometimes Callie needs to go onto the road. It’s why Kittleson trains her to only respond to a hand command for the task instead of a verbal phrase. This way there’s never any confusion.
“She gets no praise, no reinforcement for being in the street, she comes back to the sidewalk, she earns all of her praise and reinforcement,” Kittleson says.
The helpful video received over 3.9 million views.
“This is clever,” one user wrote.
“The hand command is so polite,” another added.
“I’m going to try this on my driveway too so my girl doesn’t go out unless I tell her,” someone commented.
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