Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called
Teaching your dog to come when called can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding things you can do.
If your dog has good recall, ie: the consistent ability to come when called, you can prevent your dog from running into the road, chasing squirrels or cars, and keep your dog from running into fights with other dogs.
If you take your dog into a high distraction area and you yell “come!”, what happens? Will your dog turn on a dime and come running back to you? Or do you have to yell it a thousand times, while your dog keeps getting into trouble as you run toward her to break up the mess?
Teaching your dog to come when called can be one of the biggest life saving commands you can teach your dog.
Preparing to Teach “Come”
- Invest in a high quality 30-50′ leash so you can practice recall from increasing distances.
- Take your dog to a low distraction area, preferably when your dog is slightly hungry, so the treats you use are more “high value”.
- Put your dog in a down/stay and stay within eye line of your dog.
- Slowly start to back away, starting at a very close manageable distance to set your dog up for success. This could mean backing up about 5′.
- When ready, say your chosen word for “come” and give the leash a slight tug, guiding your dog right to you. Use your dog’s name and excitedly call him towards you. Get excited as though being near you is a really fun place to be.
- Once your dog has come to you and sit at your feet, reward him with a treat.
Things to Avoid
If you say come and your dog is ignoring you, don’t keep yelling it forever and hoping your dog will come. This teaches your dog that that word has no meaning. Reset the scenario and try again. That could mean going over to your dog, walking him to a new location a few feet away, and putting him in a down to try again.
Inconsistency. Use the same word for recall every single time. Using multiple words will confuse your dog and make your recall less effective. Until your dog has a high success rate of coming to you when called, also be consistent in rewarding him with treats. This makes coming to you much more fun, and he’ll be way more likely to come when called!
High distractions. Until your dog is well trained, avoid the most distracting situations. Those are different for each dog, so take note of what’s highly distracting for your dog. Is it other dogs? Cats? Food? Hustle and bustle of people around him? Don’t take your dog into a high distraction environment until you’ve advanced to a skill set where your dog’s recall can be successful in that environment.
If you need help with your dog’s recall, you can drop your dog off for some training sessions and pick them up a well trained and happy hound!
Have you mastered getting your dog to come when called? Let us know in the comments below if a come has saved your dog’s life!