The two most important things to remember are to always praise your dog when they come to you – and set yourself up for success.

  • Teach your dog that ‘Come’ means – run to me, there’s a party over here!
  • Never say ‘Come’ when you think your dog may not do it
  • Only call your dog to come when you KNOW you can make them, not hope that they will
  • Always balance distance and distractions for level of difficulty – ie, work at a level where your dog can be successful.  If there are distractions, work at a short distance away.  If there are no distractions, you can be farther away
  • Do not call your dog to ‘Come’ for anything she doesn’t like
  • Never call your dog in anger
  • Call your dog only once – and then make her come or walk away
  • Always praise and reward your dog for coming to you- make sure you reward and praise a lot!! (a full 20 seconds of petting for example)
  • Never punish your dog for coming to you – even if it takes awhile for him to get there.
  • Never chase after your dog
  • Get your dog to chase you if you don’t have control
  • Practice first indoors with no distractions
  • Use a food lure at dog’s nose and walk backwards to start the behavior
  • Practice “Find It” and “Hide and Seek” to train the recall
  • Practice calling ‘Come’ for mealtimes and for walks
  • Practice 10 times on each outdoor leash walk (intersperse walking backwards and calling your dog)
  • Gradually add distractions and different locations
  • Practice outside on a long line –first with no distractions, then add distractions
  • Use high value food rewards when practicing outside
  • Don’t expect to get from kindergarten to graduate school quickly – this takes time!!
  • Practice “Gotcha” so your dog is used to having its collar grabbed
  • Say name first, make sure you have attention, and then call Come
  • Praise your dog as they come to you
  • Do NOT repeat the command
  • If your dog does not come, go get him, show him the treat he missed out on and eat it yourself (make sure it is edible by you), making a huge deal over how good it was.  Repeat if necessary but this should work for independent dogs.
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