Teaching your dog to come to you when called is one of the most important basic commands. Once this command is mastered, you can protect him from a potentially dangerous situation by calling him to you. You can teach this command to a young puppy as soon as he learns his name.
Time Required: 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per day
- Start indoors at the end of your dog’s leash.
- While he is not paying close attention to you, say his name followed by “come” in a clear, excited tone.
- Make movements such as tapping your knees and stepping backwards.
- As soon as your dog comes to you, praise him lavishly without causing overexcitement.
- If he does not come, lightly tug on the leash to encourage him. Again, keep an upbeat, excited tone to your voice – show him that coming to you is a very positive thing.
- Repeat 5 to 6 times, gradually moving outdoors. As he improves, practice it without the leash only if you have a fenced-in yard.
- Never use the “come” command with an angry tone in your voice. Do not call your dog to you for negative things such as punishment, baths, or pills. Go get him instead for these things.
- Rewarding your dog with treats may be risky – treats should be used infrequently or not at all. If you call him in an emergency situation and he sees that you have no treats, he may not come to you. The reward should be something you can always provide, such as praise.
- If your dog tries to run away from you, do not run after him – this only turns it into a game. Try turning the game around by calling his name and running away from him. He may then run after you in play. If so, say “good come” and reward him with praise. This can be especially helpful in emergency situations.
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