One of the most important things you can teach your dog is to come. If a dog can not be called back to you when they get loose or when there is a possibility of a problem such as another dog approaching, a squirrel running by, or a small child approaching this could spell out disaster for you, your dog, and the person or animal he or she encounters. It also means not being able to get your dog back if they should get out your front door or your off its leash or out of your back yard.
For instance we have a large 6 food privacy fence in our back yard so I have always felt safe putting my dogs back there, but after a thunderstorm one of the fence posts had separated from a section of fence and it left the fence opened. I myself did not realize this and let my dog out. When I went to get her back inside I could not find her, and when I went out to the back yard my heart sunk as I saw the hole in the fence, and I knew she had gotten out. I feared the worst but called her name out and within a minute she came right to me and back in to the back yard and in to my arms. Had she had not been so well trained I may never have gotten her back. She is a good sized dog who is capable of running very fast and covering a lot of ground in no time. I gave her lots of praise and love for coming back to me when I called. It was not her fault the fence was opened therefore punishing her or yelling at her would have only made her less likely to return to me next time.
Never call a dog to you and then punish it. They will be less likely to come to you in the future because they will see your call as a punishment and will be afraid to go to you. If you must reprimand a dog for something you caught them in the act of doing reprimand them where they stand, go to them.
When you begin to train your dog to come to you do it in an enclosed area and be sure that you will be free from distractions as you train. It is also helpful to have someone to assist you.
After you walk away from the dog and before you call him use the come signal your arms should be opened wide and your face should be friendly and excited. Once your dog knows the command you can be less opened and enthusiastic.
If you don’t have a partner you can train your dog with a very long leash. Let your dog get a distance from you on the leash then pull the treat from a pocket, get your body in the come signal position and show him or her the treat as you say, “Come.” Refrain from dragging the dog to you with the leash allow the dog to come to you, then praise it, and grab hold of the collar and feed the treat.
You can also do either method with a dogs favorite toy as well. If you dog responds more to the toy then a treat then bring the toy along on walks with you just in case. Always bring treats on walks with you as well in case the manage to get out of the collar.
Even if a dog is well trained to come they can some times get distracted by people or other dogs walking down the road, and squirrels and rabbits can also get their attention. When walking your do you need to be really aware of your surroundings and avoid possible distractions that your dog may want to go after. If you see someone with another dog coming towards you, turn around and walk the other way or at very least cross the street, try to distract your dog from seeing the other dog. If you see children playing out in the front yard, cross the street. If you see a squirrel or a bunny, talk to your dog so hopefully he or she will be paying attention to you and hopefully will not notice the squirrel or rabbit, if they do see it give the warning voice right away and tighten your grip noticeably on the leash. Continue to reinforce the no command. Praise the dog if they resist the urge to chase.
Have your partner hold the dog by the collar in a gentle way then show your dog that you have a treat.
Then while your partner is still holding the dog back away from your dog a short distance maybe 6 feet. Then stop and say “Come.” Your partner should let go of the dog at this time and let the dog go to you.
When your dog reaches you be very enthusiastic and happy and give them a lot of praise and love. Then take hold of the dogs collar and give them the treat. This will give you control as to when they can run off again. Repeat this every day at least a couple of times per day.