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How to Teach Your Dog to Come

Learn how to teach your dog to come in this Howcast video with Andrea Arden Dog Training.


Out of all the behaviors you train your dog, come is definitely the most important. It can save your dog's life. Also, dogs that have a reliable recall live more fulfilling lives in that they can go off leash in safe and legal areas. So to get started, you want to consider one very important thing. When you ask your dog to come to you, and they do, there should be a party waiting for them. If you really want a reliable recall, you have to make sure that your dog is really happy when they get to you. So you're gonna be rewarding them with really high value, yummy treats, or if your dog loves to play fetch, ball, or tugs on toys, you can use those types of things for a reward too. Just make sure that when they get to you, they have something fun at the other end, not anything they're not too pleased about. So to get started, it's always best to be really defined to your dog. Let's be clear, so, I don't just want him to come, I'm gonna actually teach my dog to touch my hand, so that he has a target to go to, very specifically. So I'm gonna show him that I have something that he wants, I'm gonna bring those things up and out of view, and then I'm gonna present my hand. And then what I want- good! is for him to touch it with his nose. So when he does, I'm gonna use a very clear marker word- I'm gonna say good, and since I don't want his paw, that's very cute, good! I'm only gonna say good when his nose touches my hand. Good! Good! When I think that my dog understands that the behavior I'm training- good! is for him to touch my hand, I'm gonna start adding some distance. Good! And then, to get even more distance- good! a fun game that you can play with your dog is to actually, instead of hand feeding them their reward, I'm gonna toss it for them. This way I can get him away from me. Good! Good! With a little bit of distance, comes a little bit of speed, too. Good! So we don't just want our dog to come to us the first time we ask them- good!, we want them to do it as fast as they possibly can. When I feel confident that he will come when he sees my hand, I'm ready to put a verbal cue on this. I'm gonna use the word touch, because it doesn't sound like anything else. I avoid using the word "come", because I feel a lot of people, including myself, say to their dog, "come here" or "come on" and they kind of do or they kind of don't, so I wanna have a nice protective word for my reliable recall. Touch. Good! Walter, touch. Good! And now, with the reliable recall trained, I can start thinking about taking my dog outside into more distracting areas, as long as they're fenced in, working on this around distractions. And then, only when I feel absolutely certain that my dog's gonna come to me, every time, the first time I call them, I can start thinking about letting them off leash in safe and legal areas. You did such a good job! Good boy.

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