Teaching your dog to come to you might be hard, depending on the pet’s age, the time you have to train him, among others factors. But is certainly a very good exercise that you should put in practice as soon as you can. It is not only a matter of obedience, it might really save your dog’s life. If you train your dog to come he will be safe from many dangers that are around us (cars, another dogs, and so on).
There are some things you should do before you start training your pet: giving him a name, if he hasn’t a name yet, so you can call him. And remember that at the end of the task you must praise him to reinforce his good behaviour. “Good boy!”, for instance, is something you can tell to him, as well as pet him.
How to train your dog to come?
It is probably easier to teach a young dog (a puppy) than an adult dog. Grown up dogs tend to be more independent. But it would be good if you can continue the exercises as long as your dog grows. Try to do these exercises with your pet several times a day. Here are some tips that specialists consider important:
- Remember that you will have to be patient. Your dog will not follow you as soon as you start training him. Whenever he comes to you after being called, praise him with words such “Good dog!”. He will learn that he is appreciated when he responds to your call. Don’t chase him if he runs away from you, or we will think you are just playing and not teaching him.
- Some specialists argue that you should never link the call with things your dog doesn’t like. For instance, you should not call him to come to take him to the veterinarian. Your dog will associate things and probably he will remember what happened and when you call him next time he will not show up.
- Don’t be aggressive when you call him. Your dog will not react faster just because you are yelling at him.
There are many ways to train your dog to come. They are slightly different but most of them have something in common: you must call your dog by his name, do the exercise several times and when your dog comes, reward him by praising him to let him know that he had a great behaviour. You should not cause overexcitement neither yelling at him when he doesn’t obey to you.
Here are one of the suggestions that Humane Society’s give to teach your dog to come. One of the advantages of this method is that you won’t need help from other people. You can do it only with your dog.
“The back up and recall method”
This method is perfect for those dogs who pull the leash when they go for a walk. You must:
- Put your dog on a leash;
- Hold the other end of the leash, say “come” and then move backward fast; keep going backward until your dog gets all the way to you;
- Praise him to show him he had a good behaviour. Say “Yes!” or something similar.
Here are an example from the ASPCA that you can adopt to dogs of any age:
This method can be a good bet if you have more people available to help you.
People who will help you on the exercise should remain quiet, spread around your house. Then, you should call your dog, clapping hands and making high pitched noises. After your dog comes to you, you must put him the collar and praise him by saying “Well done!” or “Good girl / boy!”. Then ask another member of your family to do the same procedure.
Another of the methods ASPCA suggests is called “Long-Line Training”.
You should not release your dog in a park before you train him to come. This method suggests that you should attach a long line (a lightweight leash or rope that’s at least 20 feet long) to her collar. Then you must go for a walk in the park, always holding the end of the line. Don’t pull the line too much.
When your dog looks at you while you are walking, praise him to let him know he’s doing good. After repeating this procedure several times, when you start to think he is going to look at you again, call him by his name. Keep on praising him for his behaviour, including when he finally reaches you. It is very important to show him that he had a great behaviour, appreciating his progress.
While your dog is not properly trained, try not to call him when he is doing something else, like playing on the grass or sniffing, as he will probably ignore you.
If you call him when he’s not doing anything, it is more likely that he comes. By that, you are reinforcing his behaviour. When your dog starts to be more reliable, you can call him even when he’s distracted. If he keeps doing what he was doing, you may turn a few steps from him and keep calling. When he finally reaches you, remember to praise him. You can keep on training your dog. As he increases his behaviour, you may cut a few inches off the line, but never let him understand it.
When your dog ignores you.
According to specialists, when your dog doesn’t come when you call him you mustn’t keep on repeating the “come” command, because probably if you do it your dog will remain ignoring your orders in the future.
After calling him once, if he doesn’t come, try again. If he keeps on ignoring the call, don’t run after him. Just go where he is and pick him.
If he ignores all of your commands, don’t be mad and just ignore him until he comes back. In those situations, running after your dog won’t help because dogs are faster than us.
Remember that training your dog is a very important thing. You will probably spend some hours on it, but it certainly will be useful in many situation. Keep patient and don’t give up!