Training your puppy to come is one of the most important things you can teach your puppy. Learning to come when called may save your puppy’s life some day. If your puppy should run outside then coming when you call him could keep him from running in front of a car. Coming when called could stop him from being injured or killed. Here’s how you can train your puppy to come.
What You Will Need
In order to teach your puppy to come when called you will need a long cord or rope. A nylon or cotton cord about 15 feet long will work. You can purchase them at pet stores or online. The cord will need to attach to your puppy’s regular collar so it should have a snap similar to the snap on your puppy’s leash.
Where To Train
You can teach your puppy to come to you in any small, enclosed area such as your living room or a fenced backyard. You should use a small enclosed area in case your puppy gets away from you and you need to catch him. This way your puppy won’t be in any danger.
Training Your Puppy To Come
Attach the long cord to your puppy’s collar and allow him to wander and play in the area as usual. Move along with your puppy, keeping 10-12 feet separating the two of you. When your puppy is busy and not paying any attention to you, you should crouch down and call his name with the come command, “Ralphie, Come!” It will help if you have something that interests your puppy. You can use a favorite toy to get his attention — wave it and encourage your puppy to come to you. Or, you can use a treat to encourage your puppy to come to you. Or, you may just wiggle your fingers to get your puppy’s attention. But call your puppy to you.
Most puppies will come, though it may take some encouragement. As soon as your puppy starts toward you, you can start to reel in the long cord a little. However, do not drag your puppy to you. You want to encourage your puppy to come to you rather than force him. Once your puppy comes to you, you should cover him with praise, make a big fuss and give him his toy or treat. Make sure that the two of you really celebrate because this is a big deal. He has just done something great.
You should repeat this lesson several times. Your puppy should catch on to learning to come very quickly. However, it takes much longer to get a puppy or dog to come reliably each and every time.
You’ll need to practice the come command many times at home, in a secure area, before you take the cord off. Once your puppy is coming to you reliably when you call him at home, both on and off the cord, you can add distractions to your practice. Introduce another dog into the yard. Play music. Have people in the yard while you practice. And so on.
Once your puppy is coming to you when you call even with these distractions you will be ready to try the come command at a friend’s house — a friend with a secure yard. Start at the beginning again, calling your puppy while he’s on the cord and then move on to calling him when he’s off the cord. Then add distractions.
When your puppy is coming to you when called at a friend’s house you can practice in a public place with your puppy on the cord. There will be lots of distractions in public. Only when you are 100 percent certain that your puppy will come when called should you ever consider letting him off the cord.
As you can see, it will take a long time before you can think that your puppy has completely mastered this lesson. This is normal for all dogs. If you have a sighthound (greyhound) you may not ever want to let them off the cord in public. They might see a rabbit and bolt after it. There are some sporting dogs and other breeds that may also be unreliable regardless of how much training they have. So, please be very careful about allowing your puppy off the cord in open areas.
However, most puppies should come when called in most situations if you follow this training.
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