Teaching your dog to come
As a dog trainer I have seen many ways to teach a dog to come. Just like people, not all dogs learn alike and if one method doesn’t work, you should try another. Remember:
- No matter what method you use, when your dog “comes”, it is the best thing your dog has ever done! Always give lots of praise and play or reward some other way.
- Use your cue to “come” only once, if the dog doesn’t come, button your lip and go get her.
- Don’t call your dog to come for something unpleasant. Use another cue such as “come-on, let’s go”. Then praise highly when she does.
- NEVER punish your dog for coming to you. If you have spent 15 minutes trying to get her to come, when you finally get her, calmly take her where you need her to be.
Here is my favorite method:
- Have your dog on a flexi-lead or at least a 6 foot lead. When she is at the end of the lead give her your “come” command using her name first to get her attention. When she looks at you, give the lead a tug, drop down to your knees and open your arms. If she hesitates, use her name again and call her in. Lots of praise! After a few times, she should come to you and then you can try calling her when you are standing up. If she hesitates, turn around and run from her. Most dogs love to chase. Turn back towards her and praise her for coming to you.
- Next, in some room or enclosed yard, have a friend stand facing you about 6 feet to start. Both of you have treats. Have your friend hold your dog while you run away to about 20 feet. Turn around and call your dog. Give praise and treats when she gets to you. Then you hold your dog and have your friend run. It’s a game to the dog but you are building the drive to “come”.