Teaching Your Dog to Come
If you have a dog then you want him to come to you when he is called. Not only is this an important lesson so you can get him to come over to be with you, but it’s also important because you will always be able to get him to come to you if there is a dangerous situation or other reason that he can’t be running free. If a dog doesn’t reliably come when called, you can never take him off leash and expect him to come back if so desired.
If you have a good relationship with your dog, then you shouldn’t have a hard time teaching your dog to come to you when called. Even so, training sessions shouldn’t last more than a few minutes at a time so you won’t lose the attention span of your pet or tire him out.
Training should be inside of a fenced in area so your dog won’t get distracted and run off if he gets bored. You also need some tasty treats or your dog’s favorite toy, whatever will be the best motivation for him to do what you want during the training sessions.
If you dog already knows the “sit” and “stay” commands, your job will be easier when teaching him how to come when called. That’s why those two commands should be mastered by your pet before beginning the training for the “come” command.
Steps to Training
Tell your dog to sit, then to stay. Praise him and give him a treat or give him a favorite toy, whichever way you use to give praise for doing something you want him to do. Then back up a few feet, get your dog’s attention, and cheerfully shout in a sing-song, high pitched voice, “Venkat, Come!” You can add kissy noises if that helps get his attention. It’s important to always use the same words. Don’t change it up. If you start off by just saying “come” then don’t later say “come here” or your dog may not understand.
More than likely your dog will happily run up to you and then you give him a treat and praise him profusely. The object is to make it a happy experience for him to come over to you.
Now, gradually move further and further back from your dog and practice the “come” command for a few more minutes, always praising him when he does it. It shouldn’t take long for him to figure out that when you say “come” he should stop what he is doing and get over to your side.
Once your dog starts to comprehend the “come” command in a training situation, you can start practicing it in places when she is likely to be more distracted, like at a dog park or other place where there are distractions. If she will come to you even when she was engaged in some other activity, then you know you are well on the way to an obedient dog that understand what you want and is happy to do it.
Never use the “come” command for making your dog come over to your to be scolded or punished for something she did. If she associates the command with bad things happening to her, she will never learn the “come” command because who wants to be asked to come when all that is going to happen is you are going to be yelled at? If you are faced with that situation, it’s best to go get your dog yourself. Besides, dog’s have a short memory and unless you catch them in the act of chewing up your shoes or some other misdeed, you can’t punish after the fact and expect them to understand anything except that you are mad at them.
What if Your Dog Doesn’t Catch On?
If for some reason you dog isn’t comprehending the “come” command, don’t get frustrated, and especially don’t yell at or punish your dog. And don’t just start yelling, come! Come! Come! That will just confuse him and he will pay no attention at all. That’s another reason why you have to use a motivation that your dog won’t ignore, so be sure to bring his favorite treat or even a few bites of something special like bits of cooked liver or chicken.
Just keep up the training sessions and be consistent and patient and your dog should eventually understand the “come” command and come when you call.
Once you are absolutely sure that your dog has mastered the “come” command, then there are times when you can let him off leash if appropriate like at a dog park, etc.
Having a well-behaved and obedient dog that understands and obeys the basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” or “come,” then you will have a faithful companion that will be a happier and more confident pet that you can be proud of.