One of the most important commands that you can teach your dog, “come” should be trained using play and positive reinforcement to make it a successful and reliable recall. To make this command one that your dog can maintain through life, you need a lifelong training effort, which includes consistency, enthusiasm, and lots of rewards.
How Do You Start Training?
When teaching your dog to come when called, it’s important that you don’t use the recall command for something that is negative like isolation or a reprimand. Make sure that when you call your dog, it’s for something positive and fun each time that the dog runs to you.
However, if you have been calling your pup already for something that is not pleasant, you will need to change the command you were using and then start to train him all over again so that he comes to you for pleasant things. So, if you really do need your dog to come to you for something unpleasant like a bath, do not use your “come” command, so your dog doesn’t continue to associate it with something unpleasant.
Teaching Reliable Recall
First, start to slowly practice at home with a few distractions as well as plenty of tasty rewards like treats and toys. Next, practice the reliable recall by showing your pup a higher value treat as you say your dog’s name in a happy voice and move backward. If your dog runs right to you, then it can help to reward him with small treats.
When your pup can understand how fun it is to run up to you, you should reward him with play, praise, and treats. After your dog has run to you consistently, you can name the command. After going outside to practice with your pup, you will encounter more distractions, so you will need to use a long safety line or a leash until he’s been trained thoroughly, so don’t forget to reward him with high-value treats.
You will need to practice grabbing your pup’s collar as he comes to you right before you give him his treat. Not only will this help you to avoid your pup from taking his treat and running away in order to play the game again, but it will also help your pup associate the “collar grab” as a good thing that he shouldn’t avoid and run away from.
In order to build a good relationship with your pup, you should try to be fun and interesting every time you try to call your pup to “come”. Also, you shouldn’t reprimand your pup after you use the “come” command. This means no matter how often you have called him or however long it takes him to come to where you are, he will always get a huge reward once he responds. It’s important to check with your pup randomly while he is playing, particularly with other dogs. When you call him to you, give him a treat before releasing him back into play. This way, the “come” command will not be associated with being leashed or leaving.
It’s important to remember that dogs truly love rewards. A great training tool, rewards allow you to provide the positive reinforcement that you need to get your dog to listen to you. Remember that the best type of reward is a small treat that is both nutritious and delicious, which will prevent you from overfeeding your dog.
Another reason small treats are recommended is so that your dog will be able to chew them quickly, so you don’t spend most of your time training your dog watching your dog eat. Other types of rewards include verbal affirmations and affection from you. These types of rewards help a dog to learn when they should obey your commands.
As you start to train your dog, it’s important to start inside and away from any distractions. Just remember that a dog can become distracted super easily, which can be one of the reasons why this command is important. When you keep a dog inside, it’s easy to minimize anything that can distract your dog from learning. After this command has been mastered inside, you will be able to take your dog outside and then practice without any distractions.
Make It Positive and Fun
When training your dog, the best way to do it is to make it a fun and positive activity. If you have a dog that enjoys being trained, then he will pick it up faster. By treating it as a fun game, then you can both play together, and your dog will have more success at learning the command.
How to Train Your Dog to Come When Called
Now that you are prepared, the next step is to train your dog on how to follow the command “come”. Here are a few simple steps that will help you to walk through all that you need to know.
Start with a Short Distance
It’s important that you always start with a close distance, at around 10 feet. This will allow the process to be straightforward as well as easier to understand as your dog is getting started. You will gradually move back farther as you train your dog, but, at first, you should keep it short.
Instruct your dog to “Come”
Then, you will need to make eye contact with your dog and say the “come” command in a positive, confident, and clear manner. You should say your dog’s name to get his attention and then follow it up with the command “come” so he knows what you expect of him.
When you instruct your dog to follow the “come” command, you need to actively encourage and excite him. Remember to clap your hands, pat your legs, or do another type of action to get his attention. Also, make sure that you continue to say the “come” command the entire time as you teach your dog to get used to it.
Give Him Rewards
After your dog reaches you, give him an affirmation that is positive like “Good boy” before giving him his treat. This will give your dog positive reinforcement as well as a sign that your dog has done a good job.
Increase the Distance
As your dog gets the hang of the command, it can be important to take a step back and repeat the entire process from a distance. You will eventually need to work your way to beginning in a separate room where your pup isn’t able to see you.
The key to training success is repetition. Before you start to train outside, you will need to practice the command several times to make sure that your pup gets the hang of it.
Since a dog can become distracted very easily, by new objects, other animals, and toys, you will need to help your pup overcome these types of distractions as well as focus on these commands while adding in small distractions as you practice.
Finally, once you have become confident in your pup’s ability to follow the command, then you can go outside to practice. Make sure you practice in a contained area at first then you can go outside and practice the command outdoors.
As you train your dog to follow the “come” command, you’ve probably been using rewards like treats, affection, attention, and toys. It may be necessary to come up with more motivating rewards or an extra special treat.
One method you may want to consider is allowing him to be off-leash so that he can explore the outside world. Having the freedom to roam can be a huge motivator for a dog, which can be very beneficial when you start recall training. Remember that if you are only using the “come” command when you are leaving the dog park or ending play, the command will soon have a negative connotation to him. But, if you use the command throughout your playtime in your backyard or at the dog park, but give him a treat when he obeys instead of leaving, the command will now have a positive association.
Some dog owners may object to the use of treats along with training thinking that the dog isn’t really listening to them, he just wants the treats, so he won’t listen if they don’t have treats with them. So, it is also important that you transition out of using treats as rewards to ensure that your dog is truly listening to your command.
How do I get my dog to come every time?
The key here is to make your dog want to come to you. Rewards are super important in this process whether they are treats, affection, attention, or toys. In this case, though, you need to use an extra special treat, so try and think of something that will motivate your particular dog.
How do I train my dog to come when called?
While this may seem like a pretty simple, there are a few things to remember during the process. Keep the training sessions short but frequent. Depending on your dog, he may not have a very long attention span, and some dogs may take a longer time to learn than others. Also, avoid distractions and don’t train your dog in an environment where he will be overstimulated. If you can, train your dog where you and your dog are the only ones around and surround yourself with normal everyday conditions when you train.
Treats are a great training tool, and you can use toys, affection, or actual treats depending on what motivates your dog. If your dog runs away during the training session don’t chase after him, because then the process will turn into a game, which he may love and want to continue. As you train, move to different parts of the house and eventually take the session outside where there are more distractions. Finally, phase out the treats but continue to provide lots of praise and affection.
What do you do when your dog won’t come?
Basically, if your dog won’t come when you call him, he has decided to do something he prefers to do instead. Your dog also needs better training so that he knows how to respond to the command “come”, so it’s important that you do a few training sessions to make him understand what is expected. Rewards are very motivating and effective with this type of training.
How do I train my dog to be calm around visitors?
Get a friend or family member to help you and make sure that you have plenty of treats. Have your friend ring the doorbell and have your dog’s leash close by. Call out to your friend, “Please wait a moment, I need to leash my dog” and then leash your dog, have him sit, and then open the door. If your dog gets up, start the process all over again.
If your dog holds his sitting position when your friend comes inside the house, give him a treat along with praise and pets. Tell your friend to ignore your dog since any attention would be distracting to the process and all rewards need to come from you. Next, have her go outside to repeat and reinforce the process.
Make sure to repeat this process with several different friends or family members, and keep repeating the steps if your dog does become distracted. Take each step one at a time and don’t proceed to the next step until the step you are on is well understood by your pup, so he knows that you want him to remain calm when a guest is in your home. This is a helpful process that will prevent you from having to crate your dog when you have people over.