TEACHING THE COMMAND "COME"

I want to really stress the importance of some obedience training for your dogs.   The most important command you can teach your dog is the "Come".   Please, PLEASE spend time training this valuable obedience command to your pets.    

Some of the largest reasons for the failure of this command is that owners simply do not spend the time teaching this command.  Instead, the automatically assume their dog will know this command. 

To many dogs, the command "come here" means, "quick, run the other way!"    Often because when the dog has misbehaved, the owner will shout    "Come here. Bad dog!" When the dog arrives or is chased down, he is punished. After the dog has been punished for complying, not surprisingly, he will be reluctant to do so again.

Once your dog knows this command, NEVER EVER issue this command and not follow through.    This command alone has the ability to save your dog's life.        ALWAYS PRAISE your dog for coming to you.  This is extremely important.  No matter how upset or mad you are at your dog, NEVER call them  and then punish them.     Once you say "COME" you've issued a command that your dog is following.  If you punish them, they don't know you are punishing them for something else, they think you are punishing them for coming to you!

Spend at least 5 minutes a day working on this command.  Even if your dog knows this command,  this refresher every day may save your dog's life in the future.   You never know when you may drop a leash, or the have one slip out the front door, get spooked, or any number nightmare situations.   This command above all others should be something that your pet is 100% reliable in doing.  

Here are some tips to teaching this command:

Whenever the "COME" command is used (during the stage where the dog does not yet understand what come means) a leash MUST always be attached to the dog, with YOU at the other end.  NEVER give a command you cannot follow through or control.

In order to teach the recall (COME), you need a collar and leash.    The leash between you and your dog may be as short as your 6 foot training leash or up to a 30 foot long line.  You can use a Flexi-type lead instead.  The only time this WON'T work is when you start dropping the long line to test your dog's understanding of “COME”.  The “Flexi” will “chase” the dog and scare him!

1.) CLEARLY call your dog's name

2.) Clearly call "COME" (or whatever word you want to mean “come to me” when you say it (“here”, “come”, “by me”, etc.).  If you want "COME" to be your word, do not use “COME HERE”.  That is a different word  and will confuse your dog.  

3.) Give a tug on the on the line (which should, in turn, tug his collar).  Your dog should turn to look at you and start toward you.

4.) Walk backwards while you reel in the leash and PRAISE your dog on what a great puppy he is WHILE HE IS COMING TO YOU!  Once he has reached you praise like crazy - make it a big deal.  Give him a body rub, kisses, even treats if you'd like!    The importance is that your dog understands that coming to you is a wonderful reward.   A moving target is much more interesting to your dog than a stationary one.  Standing in one place will  look very boring to your dog in the training stages.  Once you call him, back up quickly, creating a target.  IG's love to follow you!
 
5.) If your dog has not looked up at you and continues sniffing the tree, or whatever, give a firmer tug on the line as you call again: “DOG'S NAME, COME!”  Any time he slows down or appears distracted, give another tug with cheerful encouragement.

Once you are certain your dog understands this command it will be up to you to reinforce this EVERYDAY!    Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes a day with him with a leash, treats and work on COME.  During the day, periodically stop what you are doing and call him to you.  As he's coming to you - PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE!    

Remember - NEVER chase after your dog if they aren't coming.   If they are distracted or slow to come,  walk away from him while you are calling him. Praise while they are coming to you and  PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE for when he comes to you.  ALWAYS MAKE THIS A FUN THING FOR YOUR DOG.

If you find your dog slipping - sometimes not coming when called - it's because of YOUR FAILURE to reinforce this command - not your dog's failure!   (most common reason is owners who accidentally call their dog but don't really mean it so don't follow through with the command).   Break out the leash and start from the beginning.

Someday you will be thanking yourself for the ground work you've done when a situation comes up that you need your dog to come to you!