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Puppy Training Part 3 – Three Initial Steps On How to Train Your Dog to "Come"


Learning how to train your dog to “Come” is perhaps the single most important skill you require as a dog owner. Why is this command so important? Just think for a moment.

  • Some kind of danger is present (approaching cars or whatever).
  • You command ‘Come’.
  • Your dog obeys. All is well.
  • Your dog takes no notice. At worst (a) your pet is dead. (b) Not so bad – injured. (c) At best, OK, but an accident waiting to happen.

When you have taught your puppy to ‘Come’ you can have your dog where you need it to be in any place at any time and it is vital for keeping your dog out of dangerous situations in the future. This command is a very forceful one and so will require more time than the ‘sit’ and ‘down’ ones to completely master.

But once your pup knows how, you will realize the value of the command and be happy with the amount of time you put into it. You will quite possibly find your dog is more obedient than your children! Certainly the most important thing about the come command is that it has to get an instantaneous response. You simply have to have your dog respond the very second you have given the command.

There is no way you want them to form the habit of hearing you say it 5 or 6 times then wandering over when they feel like it. Regardless of what they are enjoying or how far away they are, they must stop and come straight to you.

Why Is This command So Difficult To Obey?

As for any of us, it is extremely difficult to just stop something that interests you and respond to another request (from your spouse, for instance!). There are several factors in the difficulty involved:

1. You may not have begun training your pup on this response until it is somewhat older, so it has already developed the habit of not responding but just ignoring you.

2. Your pup may well just not realize what ‘come’ means.

3. They may be involved in a natural dog behavior such as chasing a cat or tracking down some scent when you say come.

4. Perhaps you adopted your dog from an animal shelter. The previous owner may have taught the command ‘come’ but then inflicted punishment.

You watch dog owners. Quite often they will give the command to come, but when the dog obeys they will then punish it by saying ‘bad dog’ and perhaps even begin striking it. They may have been punishing it for a previous action but all the dog knows is that it is being struck for ‘coming’.

All of which leads to the absolute first rule of dog training: do not ever discipline the dog by using physical force. There is any number of better and more humane ways to reprimand your puppy and improve his behavior than by striking him.

Here are three steps to begin teaching your dog how to come

Step 1 – Take the initiative and praise your puppy every time he comes to you. A puppy will naturally run to you, so begin to build the association of coming to you and receiving praise. This is an essential first step.

Step 2 – When he begins coming to you by himself, start to look for when he begins to approach. Just as he is getting to you, say ‘come’ (and of course, praise him when he reaches you).

Step 3 – Get started on the association between the act and the command. Get down and say “(dog’s name), come.” Hold one of his favorite toys or treats if they need a bit of extra enticement to come to you.

These are just a few strategies. For another four steps on how to help your puppy master this absolutely imperative command (and for all aspects of puppy training), go to my website listed below.


Source by Paul F Smith

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