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Teaching your dog to come on command is so important.  First, we all want a dog who will listen and do what we ask.  It helps us and our dogs both live comfortably at home.  Second, it is important to prevent emergencies like your dog running into the road.  If he will come to you, even if he slips his leash, you can get him back safely.

Ready to get started?

Ground Rules:

  • Don’t call your dog to come when you are mad at him.
  • Don’t let your dog off the leash in an unfenced area unless they respond to the command 100% of the time even if there is a squirrel, another dog, or something else exciting going on.
  • Do not call your dog to come when you don’t think they’ll do it (when they aren’t willing to come if there is a squirrel and you just saw one)
  • Do not play “Chase the dog”
  • Do not call your dog to come if you do not have their attention first
  • Practice!  Everywhere

It’s easiest if you start out by having your dog on a regular 4-6 foot, non-retractible leash and work in a two person team.

  • Show your dog a handful of yummy treats
  • Talk to him and sound very excited while you are backing up a few feet
  • When your dog is excited and wiggling ready to come to you say come and have your partner release the dog.  Start just a few feet away.  Slowly increase the distance of this exercise to teen feet apart.  You should always conduct this exercise inside or in a fenced yard.  Do not trust your dog off a leash.

The next step in teaching your dog come is waiting for your dog to become slightly distracted.

  • Get his attention, and as he starts coming toward you say come, and sound excited.  Have a treat and lots of praise when your dog comes.
  • If your dog doesn’t come to you, ignore him for a few minutes, and try again.
  • You can use your dog’s name to get his attention before saying come.
  • If you are having trouble you can also use the look command to get your dog’s attention and when he looks and starts to come to you, you can bend down and praise him while he is coming to you.

For this level of come your last step is to make it into a game.  Have you ever played hide and seek?  Go around a corner and call your dog to come.  As he gets better at the game, make it more difficult.  Go into the next room, or upstairs, or if he’s really good at the game maybe in a closet upstairs (that is open, of course).

This entire level of come should be completed either in your house or in an enclosed area where your dog can’t get too far away from you.  It’s not time to let your pet off the leash anywhere they can get out of your control.