How To Train Your Dog To Come

Last Updated on September 18, 2022 by Editorial Team

The most crucial thing you should teach your dog is to respond to your calls by coming to you. This habit is essential to keep your dog safe from busy roads while allowing you to offer them greater freedom.

No matter how hard you try, teaching your dog to come when called is one of the most important things you can do to keep him safe. Some trainers call it a game of recall.

Teaching your dog that it’s worth it to come anytime you ask, on or off the leash, is important for training sessions (outdoors or indoors). Furthermore, this should be accomplished without the use of force or discomfort. Recall training doesn’t need the use of a shock collar.

When it comes to the so-called “common” behavior, dogs trained with positive reinforcement approaches outperformed those trained with shock collars. Aversive-trained dogs take longer to learn and react than dogs not subjected to such punishment.

But it’s worth it! Friendly voice/happy voice, fun rewards, and positive association can accelerate your dog responds without calling it dozen times.

You should never use a shock collar for training purposes, even if it is necessary (and every other dog behavior). It’s against the leash laws.

Let’s look at some fun, pleasant, and ethical methods for teaching your dog a perfect recall. You can use these as a standout training or combine it with incredible games.

How to Teach Your Dog to Respond to Your Voice

You will need

  • A training reward purse. It includes two different pockets, a waist belt, and a snaps shut to keep snacks from flying about while I walk around. I like this model over other pouches.
  • If you’re not using a clicker, you’ll need to use a marker word like “yes!”
  • Your pet’s favorite high-value training treats. (so it will make a fun game)
  • A shorter leash with the length of your arm. Long-distance recalls needs a longer leash. Attaching many leashes is also an option. (A retractable leash should not be used.)
  • Cheerful voice! The use of a training whistle is optional.

Understand the Poisoned Cue

Poisoned cues are those callings to your dog that have been tainted with negative association somehow.

When dogs hear your poisoned cue, they immediately expect horrible things to happen. When you say “drop it,” they may drop a favorite chew, but if you say “bath time,” they may jump into the tub.

One of the most prevalent poisoned cues I find in my work with dog trainers is the “come” command.

Why? Consider it from the dog’s perspective; when you call them to come, here’s what the dog thinks:

  • They are required to leave the dog park immediately.
  • A crate is provided for them.
  • A toilet accident results in a verbal or physical reprimand (never use this method!).
  • Dogs that have been previously taught with a shock collar anticipate being shocked when they hear the recall command “come.”

Reflect on the last several days.

  • When did you tell your dog to “come”?
  • Did the dog get anything good or negative out of coming to you?
  • Does their body language change when they hear the word “come”?
  • Is this a sign of tension or arousal in this person’s body language?
  • Were they all smiles and giggles when they returned?
  • Do they creep up on you slowly?

Fixing the Poisoned Cue

If you suspect your dog developed a poisoned to your “come” command, there is a simple solution: modify the phrase you use to summon them. Aside from “come,” other typical signals include “here” and “to me,” although any word may be used as long as it’s consistent.

If your dog is merely ignoring your present cue, but it’s not technically “poisoned,” you may also resume their recall training process with a fresh and different phrase. Some dogs have come to accept that the phrase has no significance to them, good or bad, and have stopped reacting.

More often than not, this is the case. As stated by Marie Kondo, the term “spark joy!” does not apply.

Words to Use When Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

Pick a term for your dog’s recall cue and stick with it. You may use whatever term you like, but the following are some of the more commonly used ones:

  • “Here”
  • “Hurry”
  • “Come,”
  • “To Me.”

People who own dogs sometimes use “Touch,” which means their dog comes to them and focuses on their hand to do the thing. However, you may find it difficult at first even after saying it a couple of times.

A whistle may be used in place of a word. This is a great alternative if you can’t shout extremely loudly or are soft-spoken.

Important Note: Emergency recalls cue should be different from routine call cues, so familiarize yourself with both. It’s a critical cue, and it’s taught uniquely.

Always give high-value rewards to dogs after they have been well-trained about emergency calls. You can start with a wide range of rewards, but you want to gradually eliminate the clicker and tasty treats as the training progresses rather than your normal memory.

If your dog knows how to come when called, why do you need an emergency recall? A dog’s routine recall may not be as effective among distracting environment as it should be because of our training patterns.

Read also: How To Train Your Dog To Walk On A Leash

Perhaps the dog has just begun recall training, in which case the behavior is brand new. To bring a dog back to you in the event of an emergency, such as when they’ve dashed through the door, you may use an “emergency recall.” In the long run, if you stick to your dependable recall training, your dog’s emergency recalls reaction will be just as excellent!

Everyone in your household must understand how to use this term when recalling your dog. It is considerably simpler to teach your dog when your vocal signals are consistent. If one person says, “here,” and another says, “come,” it will become confusing for your dog (and you!).

Show Your Dog What “Come” Means

Do not use the “come” command until your dog is already responding to it! The word “come” isn’t merely a command for your dog to return to you.

In training, I use this method to teach the “come” cue:

  1. The first step is to get the dog to approach me. To get the dog to approach me, I’ll do everything from running around like crazy to patting myself on the back or the ground to grabbing a squeaky toy or making kissy sounds.
  2. As soon as they’re near me, I’ll say, “Come” with a positive tone of voice
  3. As they approach me and gently grip their collar, I click or say “yes” (while rubbing his neck).
  4. Treat! Play! Praise!

If you follow these instructions, you may teach your dog that “come” means to come to you (so near that you can grasp them by their collar). It is unrealistic to expect a dog that hasn’t learned the vocal cue to respond to my call. As if they were talking in a language I didn’t understand and expected me to grasp what they were saying.

In this case, the precise moment you click or say your marker word is critical. Take your time, and don’t click until they’ve completed the task.

A dog’s recall is complete for me if I can get hold of its collar, but you may prefer that your dog return to you and sit. Others may be content with their dog returning to them and being nearby, regardless of the final location.

A fly-by dog may be prevented by using a collar grab as part of the recall, so I prefer this method. You can attach the retractable leash, or they can return to doing what they were doing.

Training your dog’s come when called behavior should be based on what you want it to look like. Some dogs enjoy leash freedom while doing this training.

Advanced Dog-Calling Training

  • To improve your dog’s recall, begin documenting the instances when your dog instinctively approaches you. This is a great way to get your dog’s training experience!
  • Encourage your dog or puppy to come to the table by saying “come” and then offer him high-value food rewards or food puzzle down when they arrive.
  • As soon as you grasp the dog’s leash and harness for a walk, say “come” and reward them with praise and the privilege of going on a walk with you.
  • When they return with their retrieved toy, say “come” and reward them with praise and another throw of their toy.
  • Say “come” and give your dog or adorable puppy a treat whenever they walk or sprint towards you. Use a combination of training goodies and real-life incentives like play, praise, hugs, or toys.

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