One of the biggest challenges I have found when training any dog that I have ever owned is training a dog to come. I guess the reason for this is even though we are not consciously training our dog, they are learning from every action we take with them. We have to be very aware of what we are actually telling our canine friend when we interact with them day in and day out.
Let me ask you something. Are you guilty of the following actions? I know I have been. Following are the top three ways to train your dog not to come.
– Have you ever called your dog when they are loose just to take him in the house and put some flea powder on them?
– Have you ever called your dog when he has been playing at the no leash park and promptly put the leash on and taken him home?
– Has your dog just been outside relaxing, enjoying the sun and you have called him over and started to groom him which by the way he hates with a passion?
At first your dog will come but after time you may notice some hesitation which will result in you calling him again. If you persist in your behavior later your dog will not respond at all. Why you ask? The reason is very simple. He is associating the recall with actions that to him are not very good. Now you are faced with the dilemma of undoing all the negativity he has associated with the recall. Not an easy task.
When training a dog to come you really have to make it a fun experience. I tend to use tricks that they really enjoy. Treats that are really going to get their attention like cheese or their all time favorite kielbasa.
Also when you first start teaching a dog to come do so in an area where there are few distractions. Also use a training leash which I believe are between 6 and 8 feet long.
As you train your dog to come you will notice improvement and you will get to the point where your dog gets it. Your next step in teaching a dog to come will be to do this all off lead. To do this a quiet area would be good to start with also a fenced area. You really need a controlled environment in order to train your dog to come.
Then next step in training your dog to come is to introduce distractions while training. Maybe take him to a busy park, a busy street, well you get the idea. The leash goes back on for this part of the training. You really want to see how your dog is going to react with some commotion going on around him. After some time has passed and your dog is doing well you can try the training off lead. I would look for a place that has some distractions but you still have a certain amount of control. A dog park comes to mind but remember what I said earlier.
After you feel that you have mastered the recall with your dog do not stop there. For any dog to be truly well-trained his training never stops. You should practice the recall often with your dog so he will stay sharp.
Remember any training with your dog is your day-to-day interaction with your canine buddy.