If You Only Teach Your Dog ONE Command, This Should Be It

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dog training, puppy training, teaching your dog to come when called

It was a beautiful sunny day…

I was out training with a client and her dog the other day, when it happened…

Something that can never be undone.

Something that will affect each of us that were there that day.

Another dog was with his owner at the park, playing ball.

I could see the look in his eye as he saw us and began barreling toward us, as fast as he could.

His Owner Was Trying to Call Him Back

She then began to chase him, frantically calling, trying to get her dog to come back.

The park was bordered by a very busy road (and a blind corner).

As the other dog crossed the street, he was hit by a passing car.

His owner was still calling his name…

I was racing toward the road to stop traffic…

But, I was just too late. It wasn’t the driver’s fault.

She cried with us as we tried to lift his body out of the road.

It was too late to do anything to help him; I think he was killed immediately.

His Owner Was Inconsolable

He was a 9 month old puppy.

puppy training, dog training, teaching your dog to come when calledShe had 4 children who were out with their father for the day.

She had just decided to walk him to the park and try to burn off some steam.

Apparently he loved other dogs and was running over to play with my client’s dog (who was dog aggressive, by the way).

I lifted his limp body and carried him about a mile to her house because she couldn’t stand the thought of leaving him.

Then, I helped to load him into her car so that she could take him to her vet before her kids got home.

I was covered in blood and I was emotionally devastated.

I hurt for her and her family.

It didn’t matter what I did for a living. I, of course, didn’t even mention it.

I Could Have Saved Her Dog’s Life

I wish I had met her under different circumstances.

This could have all ended differently.

I could have saved her dog’s life if I had the opportunity to help her teach her dog to come!

So what is my answer when I am asked “what ONE command should my dog know”?

It is the COME command (or the recall)! It’s the most important command when training your puppy (or dog).

And, you know what?

You have to be better and more exciting than EVERYTHING else going on around your dog!

You have to be more important than

  • Squirrels
  • Kids
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Scooters
  • Bikes
  • Birds
  • People
  • A ball

And, if you are not, or your dog is easily distracted, your dog should NOT come off leash!

But, let’s face it, sometimes dogs run out of doors, or a leash is dropped, and the dog needs a bullet proof recall or come command.

For help teaching your dog this most important command, click below.

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There are 13 Comments

  1. Mattie says:

    This is so sad I have a 1 year old shih tzu and I had her at 2 months old . The day I brought her home I was already training her . Sit, ,stay, no. Just the basic and as she got older it got better . I talk to my dog as if she is human . She is a diamond now . I can give my dog a look and she knows mama means business. She listens she will so as I say. And I give her the world . It took a lot of time and patients but I got my reward at the end . She is now a ESA animal and when we are out shopping in stores so many people come up to me and say (I wish my kids would behave like your dog). It makes me feels so good . I tell them she wasn’t born like that , it’s just letting them know you are in control and showing them what is right and wrong. But you have to start with training from a baby .JUST LIKE A CHILD! That’s how I was raised. So sorry for that family .prayers be with them.

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  2. Karen says:

    A most powerful story of the “One thing” we all need to teach…COME!
    Yes, practice, practice, practice it! Reward it by voice, hugs and treats!
    The power of love is the word “Come”…Protect your puppy today!
    THANKS CHET, WE NEEDED TO HEAR THAT!

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  3. Lori says:

    Chet and Minnette. I could have written this article. Our Boxer was outdoor an evening walk with his German Shepherd brother. The GS, Newman, did come when called and was off lead. The Boxer, Hank, was on lead….as he was not to be trusted and we had come across a porcupine days before. Well in true Boxer fashion, he pulled when he saw the porcupine and I was knocked off my feet. Newman came when called and allowed me to secure him with a leash to a nearby tree. Hank did not recall with leash dragging and repeatedly attacked the animal. He was quilled all over. He ended up with a punctured lung and an $8000.00 vet bill. He was rushed to specialists and we almost lost him. He is fine today BUT cannot be trusted and is NEVER off lead.

    It happens in the blink of an eye

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  4. Mickey says:

    From day ONE….COME COME COME COME !! Even my 10 year old Golden/Shep Mix who is a PERFECT dog…freaked when he accidently jumped out of my car while I was unloading in a busy, VERY busy parking lot. He thought we were getting out I guess.
    I freaked and called him sternly…he picked up on my stress and bolted. Ran across FOUR, not one but FOUR lanes of very busy traffic with me calling him like a loon. He go to the other side…turned around…and came BACK across FOUR lanes of very busy traffic to me.
    That day was a true wakeup call for me. ANY dog no matter HOW well trained can get disoriented and confused. I cried and cired and cried thinking of what COULD have been.
    Now? I am diligent to not only train my dogs to COME…but train them in every area every situation…even while throwing a ball… Mid retrieve I call COME !! For a dog to stop chasing a ball and turn and come to me? Is amazing..and yes, almost impossible..but it IS possible.
    How many dogs lives can be saved from being killed or lost if this command was taught to perfection? I know…I almost lost my perfect dog. :(

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  5. Michael says:

    Boy is that so true. My sister and I took our first dog for a walk off the leach over years ago, He ran into the road we were calling his name “Chipper” and he was hit and killed by an El Camino car he was a year and a half old. So please teach your dog the “COME” command.

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  6. Nary says:

    My sister also urged me to teach hustle which means it is urgent and the dog literally flies to your side

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  7. Laura says:

    We have a very well-behaved dog, thanks to the dog training secret! However, just about an hour ago, she chased a cat (my sister’s cat, on the property. She no longer run out of our yard after squirrels and cats) and disregarded my command to come. I thought to myself, “We need to fix this!” Then I opened my email and read this article. Thank you for confirming how important the ability to recall our dogs, under any circumstance, is! <3

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  8. Barry Manin says:

    This definitely is the most important command to teach your dog; even if it’s the only rule you teach!

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  9. Fiona says:

    Thank-you for sharing that story. I volunteer raising puppies for a service organisation, and I teach them to obey “come” in all sorts of social situations for that very reason. I don’t want to lose a K$2 dog. I don’t want the service trainers, or the future clients for the service organisation to have a great, smart, helpful dog which they can’t get back if it panics in public. It seriously is a fantastic feeling to see your pup or dog flying back to you from something they find fun!

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  10. Jo Emerald says:

    When my dog was a pup, he was playing in the back yard with me when he realized his “daddy” had driven away in his truck a few minutes before. Despite my frantic calls for him to come back, he proceeded to sniff the driveway to figure out which direction the truck had gone and began running down the street with me chasing, but he was so much faster. Cars were coming in both directions with me running down the middle of the street. He was frightened, so I called out “SIT” and he immediately Sat in the middle of the street so cars could pass by him on either side until I could catch up with him and bring him home. That became my go to command and 8 years later, he sits no matter what. Come is a slightly different story.

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  11. Roz says:

    I feel so sad for the lady. I have 3 dogs – only one of them will come when I call him, so none of them are let of the lead. The one who will come back managed to get out of the front gate and went bolting up the long track to the main road. I screamed “Archie COME” – he spun straight round and headed right back to me. It really is the one command all dogs should know. Sadly, even with repeated and professional training the other 2 dogs simply won’t come back if there is something more interesting around (and treats just don’t work on them).

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  12. Babs says:

    The hardest task I had in training my basset hound. Needed to work with several different ways to do this. Found the one that worked for him. Now a licensed Therapy Dog. But dang the coming when called was difficult for that nose. Another command that is vital with a dog is “Stop or Stand” In those situations. This has saved us more than once.

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