Saturday, January 17, 2009

Train your dog to come when called

PT for Dogs

Pamela Johnson

Training your dog to come when called.

Come when called

a. Make coming fun and something that the dog will find rewarding. Good things happen when the dog comes. NEVER call your dog to “COME” for something they might find undesirable (a bath, medicine, nail trimming, ending playtime with another dog, go to bed, etc…). If you need your dog to come in order to give medication for example, just simply go and get the dog. Do not actually call it to “COME”.

b. Try not to use the “COME” command if you are not at least 99% sure your dog will come.

c. Set your dog up for success and use a long line when the dog is in your presence, in distracting environments, or you are just not sure if he will come when called.

d. Play the "COME GAME".

#1. Inside, with dog on lead, two handlers sit on the floor facing each other about 6' apart. One handler holds the dog; the other holds the end of the lead. The handler with the lead calls the dog, in a happy and pleasant voice. If necessary, the handler can make noises to encourage the dog to come (do not repeat the come command), praises and (optional) treats. The dog is then turned around to face the other handler, who repeats the procedure. Goal: repeat until dog will come without using noises. At that point, increase distance, and repeat.

#2. Same activity as above, without the lead. Repeat until handlers are 12' apart. If the dog does not come immediately, put lead back on and repeat #1. Goal: dog comes repeatedly without lead.

#3. Dog off lead. One handler goes out of sight (around a corner into another room). Call the dog. Praise and reward. If the dog does not come to the handler, go to the dog and take his head in your hands look him in the eye, take a few steps back and try again. This will tell the dog that when you say come you mean it. Second handler calls dog back. Repeat above procedure. Goal: Repeat until dog doesn't hesitate in finding handlers.

#4. Repeat the sequence above, hiding in different rooms in the house. If the dog is not understanding go back to step 3. Praise and reward the dog every time he finds a handler. Goal: Repeat until the dog finds handlers every time.

#5. Repeat step #1, out in the yard (in a secure area).

#6. Repeat step #2, out in the yard (in a secure area). Go back to the lead if the dog is distracted. Praise and pet into sit with treat. Repeat until dog comes every time, even with distractions.

#7. Repeat step #3 outside (in a secure area). Goal: Repeat until dog finds handler every time.

#8. Repeat step #4 outside (in a secure area), until the dog finds you easily. Take the dog away from home into a secure park, woods, etc. Practice hiding from him any time he gets more than 20' away. Remember: always praise and/or reward him when he finds you.

#9. Continue your practice in different places with different distractions.

#10. Invent recall games of your own! Be sure the dog is rewarded for success!

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