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get youer dog to come to you every time you call him

October 5th, 2005, 12:45 PM
How To Make Your Dog Come To You
Every Time You Call Him!

And today I'm going to show you how to do it.

Let's get started by asking this question:

"Is It More Fun To Be BAD?!?"

Believe it or not, your dog thinks it’s more fun and rewarding to run away than it is to come to you.

I'll show you why.

First, let’s think about what’s really going on when your dog refuses to come to you.

Picture this: You’re at the park and you decide to take your dog off the leash for a minute.

Next thing you know, he’s tearing off like a bolt of greased lightening …chasing squirrels and other dogs …and basically having a great time.

Then you call him. "Come!”.

He ignores you so you call again, "You come here right now!”

Then maybe you get a glance or a brief glimmer of attention.

At this point, your dog realizes he has two options:

1. Come to you and sit calmly by your side.


2. Chase squirrels, play with other dogs, and basically have about as much fun as a dog can have.

Now let me ask you a question.

If you were your dog, which would you choose?

Answer this honestly. You could either obey your owner (not very fun) …or keep running around (fun.)

My guess is you’d go with whatever is the most fun. (I would too.)

And that’s just what your dog is doing.

The only way this will ever change is for your dog to believe that it's MUCH more fun to come to you than it is to run around and ignore you.

Here's How You Fix The Problem
And Make Your Dog Come To You

Before we begin, we need to start out on the right foot.

So many dog owners overlook this first step and then wonder why their dogs won’t come to them.

Are you ready? It’s simple:

You MUST use the right tone of voice when you call your dog.

Sure, this sounds kind of ultra-basic but if this part of the training is wrong, it throws everything else off track.

Anyway, here’s what I mean about using the right tone of voice.

Whether you’re stern or soft spoken, or somewhere in between isn’t really all that important.

What is important is this:

You always use the same command every time, without fail. If you want your “come back to me right now” command to be the word “come”, then you must ALWAYS use that command when you’re training your dog to come to you.
You always use the same tone of voice when giving the command. I believe you should use a brisk and commanding tone (as opposed to a soft and pleading tone) but whatever you decide on, make sure you use that exact tone every time without fail.
The reasoning behind this is that dogs don’t speak English.

They don’t understand our actual words as much as they understand the tone of our voice and the phonetic sounds we make.

You could actually use a word that made no sense at all (like “biscuit” or something) as your "come" command and it would work as long as you always used that word and used the same tone of voice.

But I’m not recommending you use silly words as your commands.

I’m just making the point that you need to always use the same tone of voice and the same command every time because it’s the combination of sound and tone that your dog is responding to, not the actual English meaning of the word.

Teaching Your Dog To Come To You, Step One:

The first place we’re going to start the training is at home in an area your dog is totally comfortable with.

Lots of folks like to start training their dog to come to them in the park or somewhere other than the dog’s daily environment …and this is a mistake.

We need a place with no distractions. And think about it. If your dog won’t come to you at home, how’s he going to respond when you’re out somewhere that’s chock-full of fun distractions?

So we begin at home.

Here’s what you’ll need for this exercise:

Some small, hard treats (like dog biscuits).
A plastic bottle of jar with a lid.
A calm mind and patient attitude.
O.K. – I want you to remember that we’re starting at step one here. And it’s important to start at this very basic level because we’re not only training your dog to come to you, we’re also having to UN-TRAIN bad habits and associations.

For example, your dog may believe it’s more fun to ignore you because he gets to play. We have to UN-TRAIN him and basically “re-program” his belief system.

So even if your dog comes to you sometimes and not others, just go along with this “building block” exercise. You’ll be glad you did, even though it sounds really basic.

Here's What You Do...

First, take the dog bones (or other hard treats) you have and break them up into small bites. (Roughly the size of marbles.)

Then place a few of them into the plastic bottle or jar so when you shake it, the treats can be heard rattling around inside.

It’s very important that your dog can hear the rattle.

Next, make sure you’re in the same room with your dog during this part.

While he’s distracted or doing something else, rattle the treat jar.

This should get your dog’s attention. (Probably the rattling more so than your voice at this stage.)

When you have his attention, rattle the jar again and give the come command.

Since you’re already in the same room and you have your dog’s attention, he’s probably going to come to you out of curiosity at the very least.

As soon as he comes, give him one of the treats and heap TONS of praise on him.

Act as if he just parted the Red Sea and found a cure for the common cold, all in the same day. Really.

What we’re doing here (and I KNOW it seems too basic to work but it does) is trying to:

Introduce the come command.
Teach your dog that coming to you when you call is the greatest thing since God invented the Fire Hydrant.
That’s ALL we’re doing at this point. We get into more advanced training later. But if you skip this basic exercise or blow it off, your training will suffer in the long run.

Plus, you only do this for a minute or two at the time. And you should do it maybe three or four times a day.

So we’re talking a maximum of eight to fifteen minutes a day on this. That’s all.

The key is to be consistent and to make it fun. And also, keep the training sessions short. Otherwise your dog will get tired, bored, or possibly scared …and he’ll think it’s no fun.

Upping The Stakes:

After a day or so, you should be able to get your dog to come to you while you’re both in the same room by rattling the treat jar and giving the "come command".

I know you’re probably thinking this is no major accomplishment …but it is. The reason why is you’ve just laid the foundation for the rest of the training …and you’ve done it successfully.

See, training your dog to come to you when you call him is sort of like building a house.

If you don’t have a very solid foundation, your house will eventually topple over …even if it looks nice at first. And that's why we're doing this basic exercise right now.

So congratulations. You’ve just built the foundation for your training. And it was fun and easy!

But now it’s time to up the stakes a little bit.

This time, I want you to be a little stingier with the treats and the praise.

ONLY reward your dog if he comes right to you. If you have to give the “come” command ten times before he finally makes it over to you, then that’s not something that deserves a reward. Just calmly praise him, but don’t give any treats.

What we’re going for here is to

Have Your Dog INSTANTLY Come To You
Every Time!

That’s the ONLY scenario in which you should give him a treat at this point.

Now remember …we’re still doing this exercise at home …while you and your dog are in the same room . So it should be a “no brainer” for your dog.

After only a day or two, you'll have reached the first major step in training your dog to come to you.

He'll be coming to you instantly ...every time you call.

Granted, we're still working while you're both at home in the same room ...but you've just laid the foudation that will enable you to take your dog anywhere you want and not have to worry about him running off or making you chase him.

good luck jo-anne

October 5th, 2005, 02:52 PM
What if your dog doesn't like treats? What if the guy he's playing with in the park has better treats?

doggy lover
October 5th, 2005, 05:03 PM
I still would never let my 16 month bc off leash in the city, treats don't work, calling excitedly doesn't work, if something mostly another dog catches his eye all commands go out the window. He just loves to play with other dogs, people and so on, so if someone new is around forget it. At our cottage he is great but there is not normally anything that distracts him there, and most times he is left off leash, but when it comes to busy city streets no way I'd rather keep him on a retractable or a long leash. I feel safer doing it this way.

October 5th, 2005, 10:56 PM
I have a problem with the tone of voice part. Every trainer says to keep the tone of voice happy and I don't buy that. When I'm in a rush and Boo's down the street, I'm not going to sound nice. And if he doesn't come, I will sound angrier and angrier. I know me. :D So I trained my doggies to come no matter what tone I have. I could be screaming, or quite often, I get mean, like "Boo, get your f***** a** over here NOW! HURRY UP." The key is, when they're within about 6 feet, you change tones and give tons of praise and act like your doggy just came back from a 2 month trip away.

If you want to find me, and learn how I do it straight from me, just follow the doggy who is trotting toward person screaming bleddy murder.. :D

October 5th, 2005, 11:09 PM
The higher the pitch the more responsive the dog will be when teaching to come along with all the other goodies the dog will get, praise, play, treats. Bending down with arms out is more inviting to a dog learning come. I teach my students to start with a puppy call and once they learn the recall and then incorporate the word come. It doesn't make sense to use the word come when a dog thinks that this means stop at every distraction along the way first.

October 5th, 2005, 11:12 PM
There is no way I could maintain a constant vocal tone regardless of my mood. Layla has amazing recall 95% of the timethe other 5% of the time requires a little more effort, and usually involves me busting a gut calling her to come. Some nights you can hear the phrase "Layla Come Here NOW" echoing through the old port :rolleyes: but when I crack out that voice, she comes in a second.

October 5th, 2005, 11:14 PM
Lots of folks like to start training their dog to come to them in the park or somewhere other than the dog’s daily environment …and this is a mistake.

I actually have to disagree with this.

This is how I trained my dogs.I had them on a training lead.I wanted them to learn WITH distractions.So I did this in the schoolyard.And I always made sure I said their name before each command.If they were of leash and it was time to go,it was Tron "come...Yukon "come"..The reason being is if I just said "come" they wouldn't know I was calling them.I have absalutely no problems having Tron off leash.He can be 50 feet away.As soon as I say Tron "come" he comes right to me.

We need a place with no distractions. And think about it. If your dog won’t come to you at home, how’s he going to respond when you’re out somewhere that’s chock-full of fun distractions?

Do you honestly think if your dog is going to listen to you at home with no distractions,that he's going to listen to you while off leash with distractions?I think not.

Even though my dog is great off leash,there is no way he is off his leash on walks.I comply with the leash law..... :D

October 5th, 2005, 11:19 PM
It is also very helpful to teach puppy their name. Do you know how many dogs don't really know their name especially if there are more than one. We have a habit of calling them something else and when their are two we call them together using both names or reward when either comes to either name.

The worst thing someone can do for a come is give the dog trouble or immediately end their play the moment they arrive at you.

October 5th, 2005, 11:22 PM
Playing hide and seek is an excellent way to reinforce come. Dogs love games and it is a very useful tool for teaching.
This goes for all cues, always end with success.

October 6th, 2005, 12:06 AM
jo-anne, I think it's great that you posted a step by step "lesson" and I hope you don't mind the rest of us disecting it...

I think we have to keep in mind that jo-anne is a relative newbie, and might not be used to us enough to not take this all as harsh critisizm...

I think we're just making the thread work for all doggies and people. Everybody is different and every dog is different. Your method might work perfectly with a lot of dogs, and we're just saying what also works and filling in possible holes... ;)

*** end of after-school special *** :o

doggy lover
October 6th, 2005, 06:47 AM
I've tried all of these with Tucker but no go, my last dog you could call through a crowd of children and he would come. Tucker just seems to have a mind of his own when it comes to distractions, he is just totally distracted :p

October 6th, 2005, 05:15 PM
doggy lover....same for me....Rudy couldn't be less interested in coming back unless he is ready. Delaney usually comes back quickly. That only happens outside in the lot if someone or some dog walks by....Rudy just thinks it is his job to tell me and keep on telling me. Inside, they are both quite obedient.

I didn't do a really good job with Rudy and returning to me outside, but I did all the same things with Delaney and she comes some of it has to be the dog.


October 7th, 2005, 04:18 PM
Thanks for taking the time to post that Jo-anne! :thumbs up

This method does work. I am at the point of instant compliance when I shake the can and say come. It seems that I am stuck at this point though and need to have a can with me at any time. How does a person wean off the can?

Any suggestions?

doggy lover
October 11th, 2005, 05:42 PM
When Tucker wonder too far away when we are up north I yell bye Tucker we're leaving and about 99% of the time he returns right away, the other 1% we have to go looking for him.

October 11th, 2005, 06:58 PM
I would have a cow if I had to go search for one of my dogs. I have a distance rule when we are walking off leash of about 20 ft.

doggy lover
October 12th, 2005, 08:01 PM
When I'm walking him on the trails up north he is good, I tell him to wait if he gets too far ahead and he does. The problem is when you are not paying attenshion to him he has a habbit of wondering off on his own, normally I find him on the airport strip on my neighbours property, and he gets in big trouble if I have to look for him. My last dog would wonder off on his own, but he allways returned and never went towards the road, Tucker would probably just do the same. The only thing that worries me is that he has no fear of the road and he could get hit by a car as many dogs in the country do, I just don't want it happening to him.