So, how do I go about teaching a puppy to come?

Teaching a puppy to come is the most important lesson that she is going to learn. It can save you a lot of frustration, and even save your puppy's life. A dog that doesn't recognise, or hasn't learnt the command "come", will at best spend its life as a hostage of her lead, and at worst a danger to herself and others.

Going for a walk with your dog in the woods, forest, or even in the park is for many dog owners one of the great pleasures of owning a dog. To be able to slip the leash, and watch your dog run and play, and then feel safe in the knowledge that she'll return when called is the goal of this lesson:

  1. Only ever train your puppy for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, as they have a very short attention span. Don't start a session when your dog is tired, or when he has just woken up.
  2. Begin teaching your puppy to come in a room where there are few distractions. Having already taught your puppy to sit, give the command "Sit". Have a treat concealed in your hand, and stand a short distance away from him. Call your pup's name to gain his attention, open your hand to reveal the treat, and as your pet moves towards you, voice the word "come". You should also use a hand signal to beckon him.
  3. Praise your dog as he moves forward, using an encouraging tone. As the puppy reaches you, bent down praise him, and give him the treat.
  4. Repeat this exercise frequently, and in various places, including outdoors. But only in the garden, or yard, at this stage. Start extending the distances between yourself and your pup. Go in to another room and call him, get someone else to call him. Improvise! Until your confident that your dog will respond under all circumstances.
  5. If your puppy is disobedient, obstinate, or willful, these exercises will need to be carried out using an extending leash, or a leash with a length of line attached. You're then in a position to be able to always get your dog's attention, and remind him that he has to respond to your commands.
  6. Once it registers with your puppy that the command "come" equals returning to you to receive a treat, you'll recognise how keen he is to play this game. Because that is how you need to treat all training sessions. Make it fun and pleasurable, and your puppy will love training.
  7. A surefire way of teaching your dog not to come is if you use it to punish him. When you leave him alone to go out. Or for any other reason he will associate with an unpleasant experience. Always go and fetch him on those occasions.

Retriever puppy

Teaching a puppy to come- outside of the home.

This is the most important part of this training exercise. Your puppy comes hard-wired to follow the leader. But, that only lasts until 4- 5 months of age. After that if the owner hasn't started to educate their puppy from the very earliest days-problems are going to occur.

So, providing the groundwork has been done in the home, and your confident that your dog is responsive to the "come" command you can move on to the great outdoors.

  1. You should have prepared for this day, by taking her for many walks on the leash. Preferably using an extending one to give her the feeling of freedom. You would also have started to practice the same exercise as was used in the home.
  2. First the "sit", then allowing your dog to go to the full extent of the leash/line then call her name to get her attention, then the recall command "come", praise, fuss, treat.
  3. Once your happy that your dog is ready, go to somewhere that's safe. Slip the leash from the collar, allow your dog to roam, sniff, whilst you walk. Use the recall command several times during the walk; don't get impatient if your dog doesn't react immediately. Always respond to the return with praise, and a treat [which can be used infrequently at a later date].
  4. Don't put her lead on again until the walk's over. Don't use the "come" command to end the walk, because that word may well become associated with the end of fun. Simply wait till she's close and slip the lead on.

The most important puppy-training asset you can have is to know your own puppy. How, she is likely to respond to any set of circumstances. If you socialised your puppy properly, then you will have a pretty good idea even at this early stage.

You need to be able to anticipate when a problem may arise. Plenty of puppies ignore commands when they hear, smell, or see, something intriguing, especially potential playmates. If you're in any doubt at all about a situation- keep her on the leash.

Teaching a puppy to come is just one segment of this puppy-training guide........

Space dog

So why not find out All About Teaching a Puppy to Lie Down.
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