Teaching your dog commands and getting them to listen and obey is important. Animals that don’t cannot only make your life more aggravating and difficult, but they can make both of your lives more dangerous. Without the ability to control your dog, he or she could be injured or killed or they might hurt somebody, resulting in your being sued. While all the basic commands are important, out of sit, stay, lie down, and come here, come is probably the most. Here are some tips on how to teach your dog to come when called.
Using a reward system is very effective for teaching commands. While there are some breeds like bulldogs that will ignore you at will, you can get a dog to do pretty much anything with treats. They don’t have to be elaborate or expensive treats, either. As a matter of fact, you can use their kibble, if you feed them dry food. When you dole it out one at a time from your pocket to your hand to their mouth, they’re so excited at getting a perceived treat they don’t know the difference or much care. All they know is they’re being rewarded for their good behavior.
Teaching the Command “Come”
Presumably your dog knows its name. Start by calling your dog from anywhere indoors or out and give him or her a treat and heap on the praise as soon as they show up. This is also a great time to teach them “sit.” Do this throughout the day. Because of this, you’ll want to keep a pocketful of treats with you. If you’re in the house and you go into another room, call the dog and reward them on their arrival. Cleaning the house and going from room to room? Call the dog each time and each time put on a dazzling display of “Good dog!” followed by a treat. It doesn’t take long to get the message.
Hide & Seek
Playing games with your pets is not only enjoyable for them and a bonding experience for you both, but it’s stimulating their minds. Play hide and seek indoors or out and make them find you. Once they do, lavishly praise them as if they’ve just done the greatest thing in the world and reward them. If you have someone to help you, they can lead the dog to another part of the house or yard temporarily while you secret yourself away again. Once you’re ready, call out to them. At this point they should be getting the drill and begin actively searching you out. Once they find you, it’s time to pour on the praise again and cough up with a treat.
The key to training your pet anything is consistency. If you only do this once in a day every so many days or weeks, they’re probably just going to think you’re being particularly generous that day and it may not be enough incentive to come every time. Start your training on a weekend where you can put all these tips into practice throughout the day, both days, including the hide and seek, and be consistent. You want them to be excited to answer your command, and when you call them you want them to immediately come, not debate the alternatives.
Starting Monday, continue calling them intermittently throughout the day (or evening, if you work during the day) every day over the next several weeks and reward them with the same glowing enthusiasm and treats. Work this into public situations like the dog park. If you do, you’ll have them trained in no time.