If your dog knows one command, it should be “come.” Bringing your dog in public and letting him off the leash somewhere such as the park can be scary, but trusting that your dog will come to you when called, will help put you at ease. It is crucial for both of your safety that he knows this command. Dogs are notorious for chasing squirrels, running after a noise they hear in the woods, etc. However, what if that noise happened to be a bigger animal than he thought? Once you recognize that he may be in danger and you yell for him to come, it’s crucial that you’re confident that he will come immediately. This is a command that could potentially save his life. So how can you teach him this important skill? Check out some of our tips below to get started!
Keep it simple at first; Start indoors, where there are minimal distractions, and not far for your dog to go. It’s important to take baby steps with your puppy and remember that he can’t go from a kindergarten level to high school overnight. Build up the confidence in your dog indoors, before bringing it outside to practice.
Make it Positive
This is an important tip, no matter what skill you’re teaching. When you call your dog to come, he’s more likely to do so if he knows he’ll be rewarded when he gets to you. If you scold him, punish him, or do anything he perceives as negative when he comes to you, he’s going to start associating that with the word “come.” Rather, if you give him treats, belly rubs, or just act happy that he came to you, he’ll sense the positivity and be more likely to do the desired behavior in the future. After all, dogs want to please their owners, so showing them your approval is key!
Determine What Distracts Your Dog
Once he’s learned the command, and you want to test it out for more challenging situations, the true test will be seeing if he comes even when he’s distracted. Make a list of what distracts him the most, whether it be other dogs, toys, sticks, etc. If he still comes even when he’s distracted with one of these situations, you can trust he’s mastered the command and respond when it matters most!
Training Sessions at Canine College
If you need assistance teaching your dog to come, the dog trainers at Canine College are here to help! We offer group and private training sessions to work on these specific skills. Check out our training options and contact us today to get started.