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Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

One of the most important behaviors to teach your puppy or adult dog is to come when called.

Your dog must WANT to come when called because it is rewarding and satisfying for him. Many dogs learn that when they hear “Come!” It means the fun is over – that it’s time to come indoors or leave the dog park. For a reliable recall (coming to you), call your dog to do something more exciting than what he’s doing at the time.

Here is how it works: Let’s say you are setting outside with a refreshment in your hand, reading a good book and you are called to come inside the house. You come running, only to find out you need to empty the dishwasher or do laundry!! But, if you ran into the house and someone handed you $100, I bet you would respond even faster the next time. So will you dog if he learns it is rewarding to come to you.

Here some of the training techniques that I use. . . . .

#1) For puppies, playing games like hide-and-seek can make training the “come” command (or recall) fun for you and your young puppy. Just call his name and say come in a playful tone, run in the other direction or around a corner. Act excited when he finds you and give praise or a small treat. Gradually make it harder to find you and practice with distractions such as people waking by, other dogs present.

#2) Ask everyone in the household to put 5 small treats in their pocket each morning and throughout the day call your dog to come, praise him, give a treat and then let him go about his business. You will soon have the foundations for a good recall.

#3) Your dog my come to you reliably in the house or back yard, but not in a new location or if there are distractions around. Dogs do not generalize well, and a different environment may create the need to go back to basic recall exercises to help him understand that “Come!” means come to me no matter where you happen to be. Practice on a leash in new environments, with treat rewards to make you more interesting than all the new stuff around him.

#4) Practice calling your dog to come to you several times on your daily walks. See if he can respond when he is distracted by smells, sights and sounds. Remember to be more exciting and rewarding then what he is currently interested in.

These are practical tips and techniques to help you and your furry friend have a reliable recall (come) wherever and whenever needed. Happy Training!!

If you have any other questions or would like additional information please visit our website: or email: or call 480-642-4900.

Kathy Fabish, Pet Services of Ocean Isle Beach

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