How To Teach A Dog To Come

Training a dog can seem like a daunting task but with patience and some basic knowledge, you are putting yourself in a great position to succeed.

The command of ‘come’ is a natural progression from the basic commands sit and stay.

How To Teach A Dog To Come

Once your dog has mastered these two commands they are in a great place to learn this new essential skill.

Below we outline the basic technique that can be used when teaching this command as well as common mistakes to avoid and tips and tricks to help you and your dog succeed.

How To Teach A Dog To Come

The command is used to ensure your dog comes directly to you.

When training your dog they may get distracted by things around them, so it’s important to teach them how to come back to you indoors before moving the training outdoors.

This is a great command, which helps dogs stay safe while playing outside.

Technique

  1. Move back from your dog a number of steps, call their name followed by the word come. Make sure you are using a cheerful, energetic voice. Imagine you were calling a friend you had spotted across the street
  2. When your dog comes, immediately reward them with lots of praise and a high value treat. If you are using a clicker then click when your dog is right in front of you.
  3. Gradually increase the distance that you are away from your dog until you can safely call them back into the garden or room.
  4. A friend or partner should help you take it in turns to distract your dog while the other one walks a short distance away and then calls your dog over.
  5. Continue to praise your dog every time they come to you when called around your house and garden.
  6. When ready to move to a more public place continue the above steps but be aware there will be more distractions so the process may not be as straightforward.

You must teach your dog to come all the way back to you. The best way to help a dog understand how to fully obey a command is to be consistent with your trigger and reward.

Otherwise your dog might think ‘come’ means they only need to be able to see you, or look towards you, not come straight over to you and stand in front of you.

You should begin indoors at shorter distances, such as 10 or 15 feet. Your dog may be lying on their bed on another side of the room.

Say your dog’s name followed by ‘come’, and then pat your legs or clap your hands for extra encouragement while continuing to say the command.

If your dog is only coming part way, or seems distracted then make the distance shorter.

Once your dog gets to you, give your pet a delicious treat. In order to effectively train your dog to obey commands a dog’s training should be done consistently every day.

Dog obedience training needs repetition to become a habit. When a dog obeys a command, they should get rewarded with treats, praise or playtime.

Common Mistakes

Dogs are loyal and obedient pets who love being around people. When they hear a command, they often obey without hesitation.

A dog’s name is usually the first thing someone says to them but sometimes people only yell out commands to get their attention. Make sure you are not just giving your dog attention when their behaviour is undesirable.

A lot of people use words like “come” to tell their dogs to stop doing something and this makes sense because dogs understand some human language but it can create a negative connotation to this command if it is used to berate your dog rather than to get them to come to you.

Try to not get annoyed or frustrated if your dog takes a long time to come to you.

It can be SO infuriating when your dog ignores a command, especially when they’ve done well in prior training sessions, but its important not to loose your cool. Don’t be tempted to shout at your dog to get them to come. Remember what I discussed earlier about calling to a friend across the street, if someone was shouting angrily at you would you want to go towards them?

Punishment is never necessary for obedience training. Punishing dogs creates an undesired response. It causes dogs to obey commands by making them afraid of punishment. This is not a reliable form of control in the spur of the moment or an emergency. Your dog should obey you because they trust you, not because they are afraid of the repercussions.

We need to be sure to praise our dogs whenever they obey us, even if that has taken longer than we would have liked!

Dogs learn from what we say and how we behave, so instead of punishing them when they do come to us, we should reward them for coming to us.

When training your furry pal to come make sure you have taught them basic commands like sit, stay, down, and come previously.

Then, you should use positive reinforcement to make sure they understand what you’re saying.

Finally, you should reward dogs when they obey your commands. Dogs come when they want something. Your job is to make them happy.

You should use positive reinforcement whenever possible because if you do this, you’ll be rewarded by having a well-behaved dog.

Top Tricks

To teach your canine companion to come when called, you need to make sure that you’re always the most interesting person in the room.

You should never get bored or tired while teaching this skill. Your dog needs to know that if he comes when you call him, there will be lots of fun things to do afterward.

Dogs love treats, but they also love games.

Try to make the training a game, you should run away a few steps, then call your dog by name and say “Come” in a friendly voice and gradually increase the distance that you are away from your dog until you can call them back from different rooms.

Make sure you use praise after each time your dog comes to you.

Below are some more top tricks that we find useful when training dogs how to come:

  • Only call when you are going to praise your dog.
  • Do not call your dog and tell them off as it makes them less likely to come back.
  • Don’t only call them to get them back on the lead, they’ll soon make the connection and be reluctant to come again.
  • Always take your dog’s favorite treats and toys with you while walking so you can continue to give rewards when they return.
  • Use walks, dinner, toys, and tasty treats to continually reaffirm ‘Come’.
  • Start practicing the command indoors before moving outdoors.

Final Thoughts

Come is a great command as it can keep your dog safe. Training your dog is a great way of building on your relationship and spending quality time together.

Having a well-trained dog will give you more options as to where you can go with your dog, knowing you can trust them in public to be well-behaved and to follow your commands.

Here is a great video showing this technique in action:

Daniel Johnson

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