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Teaching Your Dog to Come

Teaching your dog to come when called is one of the most important dog training techniques for many reasons. First, dogs have a primal need to be led by their pack leader. In most cases, that means you! Coming when called is a powerful message to your dog and one you want to communicate!

Second, when training your dogs to come use every time as a chance to reinforce the behavior with treats or a favorite toy. This is crucial, because dogs are amazingly consistent in their reinforcement of behavior. A quick tap on their nose to indicate they’re about to please you with a treat works every time; so does a game of “rums”. These training methods will only work if you’ve already formed a good relationship with your dog. You can’t expect a dog to learn any new tricks unless you welcome them into your family.

Now, let’s look at some basic dog training commands for teaching your dog to come. The most important technique to teach your dog is called the click command. It may sound easy, but it actually consists of very few steps:

Step one is always the same: you’ll want to call your dog while standing, holding the recall signal close to your chest. As soon as you say his name, give him his reward. Repeat this step until he’s familiarized to responding to your commands by calling while standing and then giving him a treat. Continue this drill over again until he is responding the way you want him to. Don’t forget to always include lots of praise. If he comes when called, he has learned what you want him to!

Step two is slightly different than the first step. Instead of calling your dog, throw a treat over his head. When he gets it, give him lots of praise. Repeat this process over again until he associates the word he just heard with the reward he got from throwing the treat. Once he learns to associate the word with the treat, you can reduce his treats to just praise or a combination of praise and treats.

Step three is a little trickier than the previous step. Rather than calling him while standing, stand next to him in a safe place, but still within range of him. Approach him, in other words, and tell him “It’s time for dinner”. When he does, without pulling on the leash, give him the reward. Do this every time the command is given until he understands that you are using the command in order to reward him for coming when called.

The final step is completely frivolous and is intended only to teach him that he will get no pleasure from whining when called unless he is rewarded. In other words, in order to teach your dog to stop whining, the best thing you can do is to teach him that he doesn’t get any rewards unless he comes to you. You can do this by having an unstructured play session with him where you simply pat him and tell him “Good Boy”, after which you put your arm around him and give him some treats, at which point he should sit quietly while you give him praise.

There you have it – three very simple dog training commands you can teach him in order to build a solid foundation for obedience and trust. The fourth one is pretty much a follow-on from step three and again is designed to teach him that he won’t get any special treats if he comes to you without the command. It also means that you will have to deal with him giving you some squealing away, but the effort is well worth it when he stops his whining and comes to you. In conclusion, this was a brief explanation of how easy it is to teach your dog the four main dog training commands. The enclosed area trick, coupled with the simple clicker, teaches him the most basic dog commands quickly and easily.

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