The second method will teach your dog to come when he’s a little farther away from you. It will also help teach your dog to come to you for those times when you don’t have the treat container.
With this technique, you will need a 20 to 30-foot length of cotton clothesline rope. Don’t use nylon that is too rough on your hands. Fasten the rope to your dog’s collar and let him go play. When he is distracted by a bird or his toys, call him by saying, “Spot, come!” If he comes to you right away, praise him enthusiastically. If he does not come directly to you, do NOT call him again. Simply pick up the rope, back away from him, and using the rope, make him come to you.
Now the key to this is to verbally praise him even if you have to drag him in to you. The come has got to be positive; if he thinks he’s going to get into trouble by coming to you, he won’t come at all. So you have to praise him. Let the long line be the bad guy.
After you have praised him, release him and let him go play again. In a few minutes repeat the exercise all over again. Practice this in the back and front yard, even in the house if he continuously plays keep away. Teach your dog that he must come to you the first time you call him, every time you call him.
Don’t allow your Golden any freedom off the leash in an unfenced area until he is well trained, grown up and mentally mature enough to handle the responsibility. Many dog owners let their dogs off leash much too soon and the dog learns that he can run away from them or play keep away. Each time he does this, he learns that he can and there is nothing you can do to change his mind. Therefore, leave him on a leash or on a long lead until he is well-trained and grown up.
For some Golden Retrievers, that might be 2 ½ or 3 years of age.
Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book. This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.