When you call your dog over, what happens? If you’re like many pet owners, you can’t guarantee your dog will come running. But this unpredictably can actually be dangerous, especially if your dog runs into traffic or gets too far out of your line of sight. But even without that danger, having a dog that comes when called is a huge convenience.
Training a dog to come when called isn’t easy. But with a little patience and a few little tricks, you can teach your dog to come on command. Here are some training steps to take to help keep your dog safe.
Like people, dogs are influenced by the laws of cause and effect. If something happens every time they do something, they learn to associate the two. You don’t want to call your dog over, put him in a kennel, then leave for the day. You want your dog to connect coming over when called with positive results. For that reason, you should only call your dog over when something positive happens as a result. If you’re calling your dog back inside before leaving for work, make sure you take a few minutes to issue praise and treats before walking out the door.
How does someone call a cat over? “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.” That higher-pitched, repetitive tone of voice is effective with all types of animals. It’s important to avoid using lower-pitched, guttural tones, even when you’re feeling impatient. That won’t get the desired results. Instead, try combining a lilting tone with repetition to win your dog over. “Come here, Barney, come, come, come,” for example.
Like many owners, you’ll probably rely on a treat bag to train your dog. But you don’t want your pets to constantly expect treats. I recommend sliding your treats in a pocket so that your dog doesn’t see them in your hand until the command has been obeyed. For the first three weeks, give your dog a treat from that pocket and grab his collar every time he comes on command. At the end of the three weeks, continue to grab that collar, but instead of a treat, praise and love on him. Occasionally switch that love out for a treat so that he never knows for sure what he’ll get.
Whether you’re training a brand-new pet or trying to make some behavioral improvements, knowing the right approach is essential. Coming on command is one of many lessons a new dog needs to learn. To discover the quick and easy way to get your dog to come when called every time, you can download your free recall checklist here.