Teaching your dog to come

Teaching Your Dog to Come – How-to Guide

Teaching your dog to come is most important thing for them to know. This is essential to its safety, and will make things a lot easier with other parts of training as well! 

Teaching your dog to come

There are a few basic methods that you can use to ensure that your dog learns this command as soon as possible! Here are some ways of teaching your dog to come quickly and consistently!

Start them on leash

Put them on a long leash and walk away from them, still holding the leash pull them close to you while saying “come” or what ever phrase you want to use (as long as you are consistent). Once you do start moving backwards and don’t stop until your dog has caught you. Keep repeating this and it won’t take long for your dog to make a connection between the two. Remember to reward them when they come right up to you with treats and lots of praise. You want them to think you are the most exciting thing around, and they won’t want to be anywhere else.

Slowly move off leash

Once they have mastered coming to you while on a leash, try off leash in a controlled area – one that they can’t escape from. Let them explore a bit and then get their attention by calling their name, immediately followed by “come”. Once again try to make your self exciting. Move around, have treats, and when they come to you give them lots of praise! Try from further and further distances, and add distractions such as food or toys. If it seems that they aren’t succeeding off leash, try again on leash! Learning this can be tough and requires lots of practice, so you have to be ready to put in the time.

Keep it fun and exciting

Always make it seem like a game. You can try training indoors, without a leash, and with a partner when your dog starts to understand the command. If one of you distract and hold the dog in one place and the other can go out of the room and call “come”. When your dog finds you give them a treat and praise. When they start to get better with the command you can make it more of a hide a seek game, by going to different rooms and even trying to hide behind things.

Things to avoid

Running towards your dog when calling

If you try to chase your dog when calling them they will see this as a game and run away from you. What you can do instead is run away from them. They will also see this as a game, but now the roles are reversed and they have to try to catch you instead!

Punishing your dog when they get to you

If you punish your dog whenever they come to you, they will associate “come” with being punished. If you feel that your dog has to be reprimanded, do it at a different time, not when you are calling come. In the long run it is more important for them to want to come to you, especially for their own safety.

Only using the command for negative reasons

Similar to punishing your dog when they get to you, if your dog learns that coming to you means ending what ever fun they were having before they won’t want to anymore. For example if every time you call them at the dog  park it means that they are leaving, they will not listen since they want to keep playing! What you can do is call them periodically throughout their playtime, letting them go back to play each time. This way they know that you just want to check in, not necessarily take them home!

Other tips and tricks

Always praise and reward your dog for coming to you, you want them to make positive associations with you. Also be sure to practice, practice, practice! Randomly throughout the day call your dog and praise them. You want them to drop everything and come to you when they hear come, so practice in new places or situations where they may not be expecting it.

What are some tricks you’ve found helped when teaching your dog to come? Comment below!

Caitlyn Simmons

Caitlyn Simmons

Professional dog petter.