Dog Training to Come on Command
Dog training to come on command is one of the most basic dog commands you can teach. It’s also the basic building block of many more complicated commands. Having your dog come to you on command is also extremely useful as it can help keep your pooch out of potentially dangerous situations.
If you’d like to learn more about getting your dog to come on command, continue reading.
Why Teach to Come on Command?
Really the number one reason why you should teach your dog to come on command is that it’s convenient. It’s very nice to call your dog and have them come straight to you. Maybe you’re getting their dinner together (though many dogs will be one step behind you the whole time anyway). Maybe you just want to have a snuggle on the couch. The ability to call your dog and then come is great!
Coming on command is also a matter of safety. Imagine letting your dog out into your back yard only to find that someone carelessly left the gate open. Your dog leaving your backyard off-leash can be very dangerous. This is especially the case if your dog has a strong prey drive. They could take off and you could never see them again.
A dog trained to come on command is a much safer dog. And you owe it to them to keep them safe.
How to Teach to Come on Command
The best place to train your dog is in a quiet room with no distractions. Take them out of your bedroom where they might like to lounge and make sure there are no strange noises or smells in the house.
Choose a word that you’ll use while training your dog. Many people like to simply use their dog’s name, but that’s not a great choice. You should call your dog’s name when you want their attention but use a word like “come” or “here” when you want them to come to you.
The first thing to try is to make eye contact with your dog. Then clearly say your chosen command word, “come.” your tone should be kind. You can call their name to get their attention, but always follow it with the command word. Once your dog makes it all the way to you, give them a treat.
Once they’ve got it, try longer distances. Maybe call them from another room or from across the house. Always reward when they complete the command.
After your dog has mastered the command, start adding distractions. You can leave a favorite chew toy in the way or have the TV on. Once they master the command with distractions, you can give it a try outside.
Remember that your dog will only follow your commands when you’ve trained them that it’s to their benefit. If they come to you and you’re angry it wasn’t faster, you’re going to train them not to come to you. Keep a level head and remember that no dog will master any skill in one day.
Tips for Coming on Command
Here are some great tips if you are trying to teach your dog to come on command:
- Don’t chase – If you really need your dog to come to you, make sure that’s what happens. It’s never a great idea to play the game of chase because your dog is going to have a good time with that, and they’ll likely win most times. Chasing your dog will give mixed signals about what you want, so best not to start at all.
- Reward a job well done – When you’re first training your dog, be sure you have a high-value reward ready to go. This will help clarify what you want them to do. Even when you are trying to remove the treat from the task, be sure to reward them with a nice pat on the head or words of encouragement.
- Never punish for coming – It could be frustrating if your dog takes a long time to finally listen, but punishing your dog is the quickest way to break what they’ve learned. You’ll be teaching them that they are punished when they come to you. That’s the best way for them to avoid you.
- Use short sessions – Even if your dog has the best attention span, they are not going to last very long. They are likely to get distracted or worse disinterested. Don’t bore your dog into submission, keep your training session no more than fifteen minutes at most.
- Practice – You need to practice with your dog every day. Once they get the hang of it, you don’t need to make such a strong effort, but each morning or evening could be a good chance. When you do try, be sure to reward them with either a treat or some snuggles.
Once you both get the hang of coming on command, you and your dog can move on to some more fun or impressive tricks. Training for this can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your dog.