If your dog ignores or avoids you when you call them, they’re not just being stubborn; coming when called is something they need to be taught how to do and must associate with positive things. If they’re only told to “come” when they’re being scolded or to end their playtime in the yard, they have no incentive to listen and may begin to write that command off as a bad thing. The only way to get a dog to come reliably is to utilize routine, positive reinforcement.
The following tips could also help you begin to establish a reliable “come”:
- First, practice “come” on a short leash in the house, then work up to practicing on a long line still inside your home.
- Each time your dog comes when called, always reward them with praise, their favorite toy, or a small treat they enjoy.
- Your dog will then be less likely to come to you next time if you punish her for not coming immediately, so be patient.
- Once your dog is responding reliably inside, go outside to your yard, start back on a shorter leash and then work up to the long line as your dog responds.
- Next, try going to a park where there are other distractions, start back on a shorter leash and work up to the long line again.
- Call your dog when you know she will come (for example, at mealtimes).
- Continue to reward them during training and your pup will be a star pupil in no time!
For more dog training tips, visit wihumane.org!