Teach your dog to Come

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The ‘Come’ command is one of the most important things to teach your dog. Being able to recall your dog when you need to will help keep him safe, give you the confidence to let him play freely when out and about… and it’s also great fun learning!

Training your dog to come when called involves not only Dos on your part but also a couple of Do nots. Here’s what not to do:

  • Never call your dog and then punish him.
  • Never chase him or use a threatening voice to call him.

The key is to make sure that you are more appealing than whatever else is going on at the time. No matter how long it takes, always praise and reward your dog – even if they’ve taken so long to come back that all you want to do is scream at them!

Step 1: Choose what command you’d like to use. The word ‘Come’ or, if you prefer, a whistle is usually a good place to start.
Step 2: Firstly, let your dog know that you have treats (or his favourite toy) and give lots of fuss and attention – make sure you go way over the top on this.
Step 3a: Now, if a friend is available to help, get them to hold your dog while you back away, still making lots of noise and showing the treats. Once at a ‘safe’ distance, stop and issue your command. At this point your friend should let go of your dog and he will come running towards you. Don’t stop making a big fuss until he’s right in-front of you. At this point, give treats/fuss, etc.
Step 3b: If a friend isn’t available, use a long lead. Ensure your dog knows you have treats and then let him get on with his own thing. When he’s not looking at you, issue your command and start showing the treats and making plenty of noise. When he comes back reward him amply.
Step 4: Over time increase the distance before giving your command. If using a lead, when you feel ready, remove it altogether.

Your dog may start responding to the command immediately, but this doesn’t mean that he’s learned to associate the sound with the behaviour expected of him – initially he’ll come to see what the noise is about. Repeat the exercise many times a day for at least a week or two, gradually increasing distances and also disappearing from view. Over time, stop giving the reward but continue praising him when he comes.

For a real test, remember to do this when there are other distractions around. People, other dogs, and things that are potentially more interesting than you are. The trick is to have nice enough treats and give enough fuss to make yourself irresistible. Think of it as a game (for both of you)!

Dog Training Commands

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One Response to “Teach your dog to Come”

  1. Why You Should Train Your Dog in Several Different Settings | Pet Pupz says:

    […] the behaviour without getting disoriented or distracted by a new situation. Safety commands like Come, Down and Leave it are especially important to teach in several settings so that if there is a […]

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