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Puppy Training Part 3 – Three Initial Steps On How to Train Your Dog to "Come"
Learning how to train your dog to “Come” is perhaps the most important skill you require as a dog owner. Why is this command so important? Just think for a moment.
- Some kind of danger is present (approaching cars or whatever).
- You command ‘Come’.
- Your dog obeys. everything is fine
- Your dog is not paying attention. At worst (a) your pet died. (b) Not so bad – hurt. (c) Best, good, but an accident is waiting to happen.
When you have taught your puppy to ‘Come’, you can have your dog where you need him to be in any place at any time and it is essential to keep your dog out of dangerous situations in the future. This command is very strong and will therefore require more time than the “sit” and “down” to fully master.
But once your puppy knows how, you’ll realize the value of the command and be happy with the amount of time you put into it. You may find that your dog is more obedient than your children! Certainly the most important thing about the come command is that it must get an immediate response. You simply have to have your dog respond as soon as you give the command.
There’s no way you want them to get into the habit of hearing you say it 5 or 6 times, then wandering off when they feel like it. Regardless of what they’re enjoying or how far away they are, they should stop and come straight to you.
Why Is This Commandment So Hard To Obey?
As for all of us, it is extremely difficult to simply stop something that interests you and respond to another request (from your wife, for example!). There are several factors in the difficulty involved:
1. You may not have started training your puppy on this response until it is a bit older, so it has already developed the habit of not responding but just ignoring you.
2. Your puppy may just not realize what ‘come’ means.
3. They may be involved in natural dog behavior like chasing a cat or tracking some scent when you say come.
4. Maybe you adopted your dog from an animal shelter. The previous owner may have taught the “come” command but then inflicted punishment.
You are watching dog owners. Quite often they will give the command to come, but when the dog obeys, they will then punish it by saying “bad dog” and maybe even start hitting it. They may have punished it for a previous action, but everyone knows that it is being beaten for “coming”.
All of which leads to the absolute first rule of dog training: never discipline the dog using physical force. There are many better and more humane ways to scold your puppy and improve his behavior than by hitting him.
Here are three steps to start teaching your dog how to come
Step 1 – Take the initiative and praise your puppy every time he comes to you. A puppy will naturally run to you, so start building the association of coming to you and receiving praise. This is an essential first step.
Step 2 – When he starts coming to you by himself, start looking when he starts to approach. Just as he reaches you, say ‘come’ (and of course, praise him when he reaches you).
Step 3 – Start with the association between the action and the command. Get down and say “(dog’s name), come.” Hold one of his favorite toys or treats in case they need a little extra enticement to come to you.
These are just a few strategies. For four more steps on how to help your puppy master this absolutely essential command (and for all aspects of puppy training), go to my website listed below.
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