Training Your Dog To Come When Called! One of the greatest joys of owning a dog is to be able to go for a walk in the park and let him run, knowing he will come when you call. Dogs that do not come when called are prisoners of the leash and, if loose, a danger to themselves and others. If your dog does not come when called, you don’t have a reliable dog. Below are five tips to help you teach this command to your pet:
1. Exercise. Many dogs do not come when called because they do not get enough physical exercise. When they do get the chance, they run off and make the most of it by staying out for hours at a time. Every morning your dog wakes up with plenty of energy and the need to exercise. If that energy is not used up, it will transform itself into other behaviors, the most common of which are barking, chewing, digging, and running away or not coming when called. Consider what your dog was bred to do, and that will tell you how much exercise is needed. A few turns around the backyard is not enough. You will need to participate. Also keep in mind that taking the dog for a daily walk or jog is as good for you as it is for him!
2. Be nice to your dog whenever he comes to you. One of the quickest ways to teach your dog not to come to you is to call him and then when he comes, punish or do something he perceives as unpleasant. Many dogs consider being given a bath unpleasant. When he needs one, go get him instead of calling him to you. Another example of unintentionally teaching your dog not to come is to go for a run in the park and call him to you when it’s time to go home. Repeating this sequence several times teaches the dog that fun is over! Soon, he may become reluctant to return to you when called because he is not yet ready to end the fun. You can prevent this kind of unintentional training by calling him to you several times during the outing, sometimes giving him a treat, sometimes just a pat on the head, and then letting her play again.
3. Teach your dog to come when called as soon as you bring him home, no matter how young he is. Ideally, you acquired your pet as a puppy, which is the best time to teach him to come when called. Start right away. But remember, sometime between the fourth and eighth months of age, your puppy will begin to realize that there is a big world out there. While going through this stage, it is best to keep him on leash so that he does not learn to ignore you when you call.
4. When in doubt, keep your dog on leash. Learn to anticipate when he is likely not to come. You may be tempting fate trying to call once he has spotted a cat, another dog or a jogger. Of course, there will be times when you make a mistake and let him go just as another dog appears out of nowhere. Resist the urge to say “Come” over and over again. The more often you holler “Come,” the quicker he learns to ignore you when off leash. Instead, patiently go and put him on leash. Do not get angry once you have caught him or he will become afraid of you. He will then run away when you try to catch him the next time.
5. Make sure that your dog always comes to you and lets you touch the collar before you reward with a praise or a treat. Touching the collar prevents the dog from developing the annoying habit of playing “Catch” which means coming toward you and then dancing around you, just out of reach.