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Teach Your Dog To "COME!" - Every Time


by Pamela Brimhall

"COME!" -- The Most Important Command Your Dog Will Ever Learn

Let's face it, dogs run away. It's a fact. They'll dart out the front door the minute it's opened, curious to explore their world. They'll chase other dogs, squirrels, and cats. They'll bolt when loud noises frighten them or aggressive dogs threaten them; and they'll never watch for traffic--they'll run right into the street.

And you'll be standing there in dismayed silence wondering, "How the @*!#@ am I ever going to catch him now?"

You can avoid becoming one of those dog owners who screeches at the top of their lungs, "Here boy! "Get back here right now!" "Here boy, here boy, here boy" while they race down the street in hot pursuit of a happy-go-lucky runaway pooch who's leash is flapping wildly in the wind. Just remember this cardinal rule: If you never teach your dog anything else, teach him to come when you call, every time.

For many dog owners, teaching their dog to come on command can seem a daunting task. But, if you learn a few simple guidelines, you can be successful. Specifically, you'll need to work with your pet every day, teaching him to come a little at a time. For instance, start by teaching him to come at short distances away from you, then build up to longer distances. Along with that, be sure he's always on a leash when training so that you can reinforce your commands if he becomes stubborn. You should also offer soft, easy-to-chew doggie treats as a reward for your dog's obedience. And, until your dog has proven himself trustworthy, never allow him outside without a leash--even if it takes your pet a year, or longer, to get there.

When you're training your pet every day, you're establishing a routine that, over time, will become your pet's new "way of life." Similarly, as you lengthen the distance between you and your pet, you're establishing a "rule" that Rover must always come to you, regardless of where you are. Then, after Rover willingly comes to you from a considerable distance--about 30 feet--you can introduce a few distractions during your training sessions to set him up. This will further instill the "rules" in your pet's mind that when you say "Come," he must obey.

Since you'll be training Rover on a leash during this entire process, if he ignores you or tries to run away, you can utilize leash corrections (short, sharp jerks or "pops" of the leash alternating with plenty of slack in the line so that you aren't physically dragging Rover to you--hopefully).

This form of reinforcement is a common tool used in dog training to let your pet know when you're displeased with his behavior. Likewise, you can offer him a treat when he complies to let him know you're pleased with him. Furthermore, when Rover's with you outside the confines of your home he should remain on a leash, with you holding the other end. Whether you're taking out the garbage or puttering in the garage, if he's outside, he's on a leash. This will prevent any "accidental" escape scenarios that would diminish the effectiveness of all that training you're doing. Eventually Rover will become convinced that his place is by your side at all times, in all places. Even if it takes Rover a year before you can trust him without a leash, it's time well spent. So even if your dog never learns another command, teaching him to come will curb your pet's wanderlust, and you'll be the envy of the neighborhood.

The next time your pet bolts down the street, you'll be the owner who commands with confidence, "Rover, come!" And all the neighbors will be in awe watching your well-behaved canine friend stop on a dime and come running home--safe and sound.

About the Author
Pamela is a professional dog trainer in Southern Arizona. She is also the Founder and Webmaster of LostPetSOS.org, a non-profit pet lost and found database, providing a free community service to pet lovers nationwide. Whether you've lost a pet or found a stray, you can search or report the animal for free at LostPetSOS.org.

 

 

 

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