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Stay In Control with the Come Command


Teaching your dog to Come is very important because like the Stay command it helps to keep him safe and you in control.  The goal is not to simply have your dog understand what the Come command means, but to have him return to you every time he is called.  It will take many training sessions before this is achieved but your patience and consistence will make learning easier.


Like most training, this instruction should first be taught inside the home in a quiet room with limited distractions.  You may find treats useful for rewarding desirable behavior and he will need to already know how to Sit.  Below are the steps to assist your dog in learning Come.


Step 1 – Take a few steps away from the dog.  As soon as he is no longer looking at you, say his name followed by the word “Come”.  When you have his attention and directly after giving the command, back up quickly so he has to run to catch you.  Stop, lure him into a sitting position, praise and give him treats.  Repeat this lesson until he is running to you as soon as you call, then break.


Step 2 – Repeat step 1, accept this time before you give him the treat reward, hold on to his collar and feed him while you have him in your grasp.   When he’s done, release him with “OK” or “Go Play”.  The point of this is to make sure you are always in control of your animal when he has returned to you.  Therefore, be sure to take his collar every time you call him.


Step 3 – When you are confident with his ability to come inside, take him outdoors to a safe, fully fenced and quiet area. Repeat step 2 without a leash.  If he doesn’t respond to you right away, remember to run to get his attention and motivate him.  Only use a lead or rope at this point if he is not responding.   When he doesn’t move, give it a gentle tug of encouragement.  Always praise and reward when he responds, even if he is on a lead.  Eventually you will want to start only giving treats when he reacts correctly right away.


Step 4 – Once you become more confident in your dog’s progress, it’s time to give him more freedom.  Put him on a 50 foot lead, rope, etc. and allow him to roam freely around the fenced area.  Do not hold the line but instead allow him to drag it.  When he is about 10 feet away from you tell him to “Come”.  If he responds, praise and treat immediately.  If he does not, try running away.  If this fails, pick up the line and give it a gentle tug.  Continue to repeat this exercise until he comes to you without encouragement from 50 feet when you call him.  Note: make sure to take adequate breaks.


Step 5 – Eventually begin to introduce more distractions to test his ability to respond.  Take this slow and don’t overdo it.  If he becomes too distracted, remove some of the excitement and re-start training.  Your end goal is to have him come to you without a lead.


Finally, always remember that you should never tell your dog to come to you when you are angry or will be doing something he won’t like, such as grooming.  It should always be seen as positive, so praise him when he responds, regardless of the situation at hand. 

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