Everyone wants their dog to come when he’s called. Sadly, dogs aren’t born knowing to come when called, which can be very dangerous. Dogs need to be taught that coming when called pays off, and that they must come right away. A dog who doesn’t listen to your calls and wanders into the path of an oncoming car is very dangerous. Teaching your dog to come when he’s called is very important and cannot be emphasized enough.
Even when your dog is just a little puppy, it is very important to teach him the “come” command. It may seem unnecessary at this time, as your puppy loves to stay close to you, but trust me, you’re going to need to start early with this important command. Your puppy is eager and ready to learn, and it’s always nice to start off on a fresh slate and not wait until bad behaviors start. Also, your puppy will love to spend some extra time with you. Below is how to teach a puppy or adult dog to come when called.
How to Teach a Puppy or Adult Dog to Come When Called:
Start in the house. Have your dog’s food for his meal ready. Say your dog’s name along with come, and when he comes to you, praise him and give him the food. Repeat this until your dog begins to come from any room in the house when you call him at his meal time. Then, move outside. Have some secret treats in your pocket, ready to give to your dog. While your dog is near, call him as you did in the house. When your dog comes, give him a treat and lots of praise. Do this for a week, several times each day. Then, slowly increase the distance between you and your dog.
As your dog gets better at coming when called in the yard, add distractions. You want your dog to come in all sorts of situations, even when something looks very fun or loud nearby. You want him to think that it’s more important to come to you than to check out a new noise or person. When your dog is perfect at coming when called when he’s in the yard, try it at the park. Only keep your dog’s leash on, or go to a special dog park that allows dogs to go without a leash in a large fenced-in area. Look at pet stores and find your dog a 20-50 foot (depending on your dog’s size) leash. This way, while your dog is still under control, he can be farther away from you to practice “come.”
You can slowly wean your dog off the treats by replacing it with petting and praise. Don’t do it all at once, or your dog won’t want to come when he’s called. Switch it often: Treat when he comes, then pet when he comes. Never forget to praise your dog for coming when he’s called!
Sissy’s Tips and Techniques
- Always work in a fenced-in area for your dog’s own safety.
- Praise your dog even if he takes his time coming to you. If you call him and he sniffs a leaf, noses a stick, and then comes to you, still praise him. If you punish your dog even if he takes his time, he will think you didn’t want him to come to you after all. Plus, he won’t want to come to you if you are mean to him.
In the Case of an Emergency…
If your dog is running away from you into some dangerous situation and he won’t come to your repeated calls, run away from him, calling his name. Or try walking backwards and calling his name. Your dog may become confused and come back to see what you’re up to. If you chase your dog, he will think it’s part of a game and will run all the harder. Also, is you have a special word that means treat or dinner, call out that. Try these things first before you run after your dog. If your dog won’t come to you at a time like this, you definitely need to work on “come”!