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Poppy the Puppy: Teaching your dog to 'come'

Teaching a reliable COME command is one of the most important skills you can teach your dog.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Kathryn Newman from Augusta Dog Training visited with Poppy the Golden Retriever Puppy to discuss how to train for a really reliable recall (Come When Called).

Teaching a reliable COME command is one of the most important skills you can teach your dog. It is a lifesaving command, so an added degree of commitment is required. However training can still be fun and positive.

1. Owner Dog Commitment.

  • When training for a reliable command an owner must make a commitment to training.
  • Teach the skill thoroughly starting with treats and games and finishing with distractions and consistent enforcement.
  • Never give a command unless you can enforce it.
  • Once give, you must enforce your command
  • Be committed – this is a long-term project (several months to a year)

2. Start by teaching the skill

  • Think of "come" not as an action but a location. Imagine a square box just in front of your knees. This is the “come” location.
  • Reward your dog repetitively with high value treats when they are in front of you
  • You do not need a lot of space, just HIGH Value treats and LOTS of reps!
  • Keep things fun by playing recall games with you dog. Toss the treats between your legs and then run. You dog will instinctively chase you while you build speed and motivation
  • Another great recall game is hide and seek

3. Second Step: Enforce the Command

  • A 20-30 training line is needed.
  • Start without distractions so your dog can concentrate.
  • Add distractions (items your dog finds interesting). These can be toys, food, other dogs and people
  • Use your rope to enforce your command. If your dog ignores your COME command and attempts to investigate the distraction, use the training rope to enforce the command
  • Increase the level distractions until your dog reliably comes when you call them.

4. Lastly, recognize this is a long-term project that may take up to a year of consistent training. Use a training rope outside, indoor use a drag-line. NEVER let your dog ignore the command!

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