You want to learn a technique to teach your dog to come when called, on command or on leash. Dogs are very social animals that respond well to praise and treats. In fact, they can sense when their owners are happy, and this translates into coming when called. A technique to teach your dog to come can make all the difference in how well your training goes.
First, you must teach your dog that it is worth it to come on cue, when calling or on leash. This will take some consistent, and possibly repetition, on your part. Even more importantly, this needs to be done without the extreme use of pain or force to get it to come. You do not need a shock collar for a reliable recall if you just want to teach your dog to come.
The second step is to teach your dog to release the treat when the come command is given. Many people make the mistake of letting their dogs loose with the come command while their treats are in their hands. This is not an acceptable way to teach your dog the release technique. Your dog must learn that to release the treat, you are indicating that it is time to go away. A poisonous cue (poison) is one of the most effective ways to teach your dog the release technique.
With your dog on a leash, approach the dog park and stand about ten yards from the dog. Take a treat in your hand and in front of you, give the cue “come”. When your dog does as you say, give him the reward – in this case a tasty treat. If your dog follows your command, run ahead a few steps and then come back, in order to emphasize the process.
The idea here is to start small and build up your rewards over time. If you only use one reward at a time, you will only be reinforcing bad behavior. Start with treats and gradually move to a tug of war game where you give your dog the treat and he must bring it around to you. As he pulls, give him the tug and reward him. Do not give him the treat until he has brought the around distractions out of his reach. This may sound difficult, but with practice, you will become aware of exactly what your dog finds difficult to achieve and you can use these methods to teach him to bring around other things as well.
If you have a friend or two who also wants to teach their dog to come, you can practice this technique with them. Instead of standing ten yards away with your dog on a leash, use one person as the “come” person and practice moving closer to each other until your dog obeys and starts coming forward. Start by walking forward one step at a time and up to a distance of about six inches. Be sure your dog understands that the closer you get to each other, the more attention he gets and the more treats he will receive.
If you do not wish to teach your dog to come with another person, you could try teaching him the reliable recall. This is the most widely used method and is also very simple to teach. Simply move into a standing position next to your dog and stand still, while giving him some praise. He should begin to come back every time you put your weight or your voice behind him and give him the praise.
Dog training recalls are a great way to reinforce the many benefits of obedience training, including learning how to behave around other dogs. However, you need to realize that they are not miracle techniques and that obedience instructors have studied and tried many different methods in the past. Using a recall with a safe lead and an effective manner of training will help ensure that your dog has a good experience when using his recall on his owner’s side. It can also help prevent unwanted behavior such as digging where the digging is due to frustration rather than an underlying fear.