Teach Your Dog To Come When Called- what to do


To teach this important skill, start out with you and your dog in a quiet room. Put other pets away and have high value treats ( little pieces of chicken, cheese, or hot dogs will do just fine). Have a hungry dog. Call your dog by his name and when he looks at you and comes to you (a foot away is fine), have a party of praise and give him a treat. Repeat. You will most likely need to get your dog to leave your side after a couple of times. Throw a treat a short distance away to get him to go get it. Then call his name and get excited when he responds and comes to you. It’s a game!!! The reward for you is that your dog is learning to come to you. The reward for him is a happy owner and a great treat. Practice this everyday for several minutes. When your dog is responding well, add a command to his name. I say the word “come” after calling my dog’s name. Any word will do, just be consistent.

When your dog gets comfortable in one room and is doing well, take the show on the road and go to another room! It is likely he will have a little trouble getting the idea at first, but will catch on soon. Once he is excelling there, go to yet another room! Don’t go too fast. Make sure he is responding well at least nine of ten times.

Once your dog has a consistent recall in the house, make sure you have a comfortable flat buckle collar and  a leash on him to go outside in a familiar area. Again, he will most likely struggle due to distractions at first. But, if you have done your job and made this a fun game, he will quickly adjust and return to your happy command. Once you have developed a strong recall in a familiar area on a relatively short leash, get a longer line and let your dog have a bit more distance from you before you call. Repeat until you have a very good record of returns. The next step is to take the dog to a spot further away. Repeat at a short distance and gradually lengthen the distance on a long line as your dog’s success builds. It’s all baby steps!

A couple of pointers…do not use your dog’s name over and over. He’ll just learn to ignore you. Say the name and use your command and give the dog a brief time to respond. If he fails to, you may repeat it, using a happy voice. If that fails, take a walk and get your dog. No treats, no reprimands. Try again at a shorter distance with less distraction.If your dog dogs run away off leash, don’t chase it! Try running the other way, laying on the ground and laughing, doing jumping jacks, whatever it takes to get your dogs attention. And then, when he does come, be happy!!!!!

Photo at top by RoxAnne Franklin