Teaching your dog come is one of the most important things you can teach them. It can save you lots of frustration and even save your dogs life when they are running toward the street!
There is one major mistake many people make when training their dogs (remember training is ongoing, happening every time you interact with your pooch). While on a walk with Mark and two of my own dogs (Waldo and Simon) I had an interaction that reminded me of an all too common mistake. A women was gardening in her front yard when we walked by, her friendly adorable little white dog came over sniffed my dogs and then started to follow us. When the pup didn’t head back I called out to the lady asking if it was her dog. She came over and we talked for a few minutes about our dogs then she walked back to her yard and told her dog to come. The dog didn’t come at first, he was to interested in Simon. So, she calls a few more times, and when the dog finally comes she looks at him and says “what a bad dog, go get in your crate!” THIS is a huge mistake!
Yes, the dog was being “bad” when it wasn’t listening. But she punished the dog when he finally did listen! This teaches the dog not to come to you. Dogs live in the moment, they can’t understand that not listening 30 seconds ago was bad. They come to you, they get yelled at their brain thinks “When she says “come” if I go to her I get yelled at, I better figure out something else to do when she says “come.”” This is NOT what you want at all!
No matter how long it takes the dog to come to you always praise/reward them when they do! READ THAT AGAIN! NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES! If you keep treats in your pockets while your dog is off leash, then you can randomly work on “come” and give them the treat when they do! Doing this often will help their recall to become much quicker and much more consistant. You dog loves you already, so adding praise and treats to the mix is just FANTASTIC to them!
“Sit” and “Come” are the first things I teach all my dogs. “Come” can get your dog out of danger fast if its needed! Get them away from a moving car, a nasty kid, that chocolate bar on the ground, or just about anything dangerous! Its very important to train this command well and correctly. You need to make coming to you the best thing in the world! So never ever reprimand a dog when they fail to come immediately. Just go back out and work on it with rewards so next time they do a better job!