Would You, Come to You?

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puppy training, how to train your dog to comeI took a few years off from teaching classes.

I lived in the country and it seemed silly to drive an hour each way to teach classes or even do in home dog training.

Recently having moved, I decided to get back into it.

Honestly I didn’t realize how much I had missed it until I got knee deep in it again!

But you always run across some interesting consistencies in dog training.

One of them; is people who literally have NO CLUE how to get their dog to come to them.

And it isn’t until you actually SEE and HEAR them that you can instantly realize WHY! Usually its because they are making one of these 5 mistakes that train your dog to NOT come.

puppy training, how to train your dog to come

When I Teach Classes

So when I teach classes I simply take everyone’s dog (one at a time of course), ask the owner to walk about 20 yards away and then have them call their dog.

I would say that about 90% of the dogs jump on me, wander around and pay attention to anything but their owner.

And, it really isn’t hard to understand.

Dog after dog refuses to come or slowly saunters around before finally coming close.

Some dogs dart toward their owners and then dart off inches before their owner can grab them.

Why, Why Do Dogs Do This?puppy training, how to train your dog to come

Because a good percentage of the time the owners already sound angry.

“ZIPPY, COOMMEEE” (insert angry voice and icon here).

Even if the dog hasn’t gotten in trouble for not coming or the owner hasn’t completely misused “come” before…. Would you want to “Come” to this person?

No, you probably wouldn’t.

But humans have some common sense and we realize when we hear an angry voice telling us to “come” or “get over here” that it is best to deal with it before the person becomes even more irate.

However dogs don’t understand this, they are going to avoid that person at all costs.

Not realizing that the person is getting more and more livid and there will likely be physical corrections or abuse at the eventual time that they do come.

This abusiveness or anger only solidifies their idea that “coming” sucks and should be avoided at all cost.

Want To Watch How “Come” Should REALLY Be Trained?

Look over Chet Womach’s shoulder as he takes you with him to his recent clients house where he shows you exactly how he cured their 2 year old Labradoodle bad habit of NOT coming when called, in just four training sessions.

Watch How ‘Coming When Called’ Should Be Trained Here

So In Fact You Are Teaching Them the Opposite

So, in fact you are teaching them the opposite of what you want to or think you are teaching them.

Sometimes, in severe instances I have the person change the word so that the negative connotation goes away completely.

Instead of “Come”  use “Here” or “Com’ere”  or “Let’s Go” anything that tricks the dog into thinking it isn’t the horrible thing that it once was!

It is essential that you NOT correct a dog that has actually come to you, no matter how angry you are.

Then in My Classes

So next in my class, after the person is totally frustrated, I simply ask them to play with the dog at the end of the leash, tease him and run away.

Then they are to use a “baby voice” and praise the dog the whole way.   None of that stern commanding voice crap ha ha ha.

“Zippy, come!  Good boy, good boy, good boy, good boy!”

It is amazing how quickly the dogs respond positively.

puppy training, how to train your dog to come

They pin their ears and dash toward their owners with pure glee.

This is how I teach my puppies COME, I tease them and run!

They don’t understand why their owners raced off without them, or why they sound like they are having a party but they don’t want to be left out.

Sometimes even turning around away from the dog, so that they dog can’t see your face, and crouching down while doing the above with some clapping will send those darting dogs straight up into your space.

They don’t want to miss out on your party!

You see, dogs have the intelligence and temperament of a toddler.

Yell, COME HERE to a toddler and watch them break into tears and avoidance if they think you are mad.

Dogs don’t do tears but they do avoidance pretty well!

You have to be good enough to come to, and be consistently good enough to come to!

Misusing Come

Hopefully you have had an epiphany and a look into your dog’s tiny brain, and will change the way you call him.

But one last point.

I mentioned misusing come… what does that mean?

It means you call him and then you do rude stuff to him.

Not only is it rotten to call him when you are mad or using your “commanding” no nonsense voice (remember dogs like FUN), but people call their dogs and

Smack them for something they found chewed up

Spank them for an accident they found on the floor

Put them into a crate or confine them

Put them outside (when they want to be inside)

Trim their nails

Bathe them

Or basically anything they don’t like

If I call you on the phone and say or do nasty stuff, will you answer when I call?

NO, probably not!

If you are always doing things your dog doesn’t want… don’t call him!

Instead, go and get him!

Problem solved!

puppy training, how to train your dog to come

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There are 17 Comments

  1. Gisela Boderke says:

    Oh my, this is the best article I have read so far, thank you. Play is how we get what we want not only with our dogs, it’s true in life also. This is going to be #1 on my daily checklist, stop the seriousness – just play – and that’s what I’m going to do with my anxiety-ridden husky, who was given to my by a kennel. Seriousness was what got her so anxious about people in the first place. I have been really concentrating on what she really likes and do a lot of that with her, that should the seriousness and anxiety get out of her. Thank you for this post.

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  2. shuvro says:

    i think… it is very helpful…

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  3. I tried this from the very beginning with my German Shepherd puppy, following your advice. Now, at two years old, he comes whenever I call, can walk down the road with me without a leash and never run off, when gates are left open he does not roam the neighborhood like my old German Shepherd used to do. However, when I have friendly company he gets very excited and wants to play with them, will sit on command for a few seconds, but does not want to come away from them to me. So we are not quite “there” yet.

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  4. Joseph Kraipovich says:

    Hi I have a 2 1/2 year old toy fox terrier and he has problems with food
    At I command him to sit and wait for my command to go and eat his food and I say ok go eat and he eats and I go and sit at the kitchen table while he eat and he come over to me when he done.you cannot go near him while eat or he get very aggressive.if you leave 1 piece of food in his cage get very aggressive and snaps.is there any training or help I can for him?

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  5. Kilsten says:

    I have a 1 1/2 year old Maltipoo. She dashes off across the street to see another person, dog etc! I am in terror. I will scream. This article has opened my eyes. First, I need to allow 5 minutes extra to get her to come with play involved. Second, I need to wear appropriate shoes (not high heels) to invite her to my “friendly voice party” to run away and have fun. When I’m crunched for time I am easily agitated. Third, possibly carry a small treat as a reward. Response appreciated.

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  6. Jessica sees says:

    I will totally try it out thank you hopefully it works

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  7. Vannah cheek says:

    I need help with loose leash walking!! Do u have any videos on that?

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    Minette Reply:

    search our articles for leash manners

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  8. Phoenix says:

    Yep, good ole recall… My two are both LGDs so very independent thinkers. (Bred to work alone for weeks at a time without a human master present.) If they don’t see a logical reason to do something, or they know that there is more important business to attend to, they won’t listen. Funny thing is, half the time THEY are correct! For example, one time, i said “in the car” – the older girl just looked at me and walked away (but why? She LOVES car rides because there’s exciting things when we get where we’re going!) so i got frustrated. Turns out she had to pee, and didn’t think the car was an appropriate place to go! (She promptly bounded into the back seat once done.) So here, we’re working on trust (are they disobeying for a legit reason or just being brats?).

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  9. Robin White says:

    My daughter has a part lab mix that she rescued from a kill free shelter. Carly was at the shelter 3 years befor my daughter got her. She’s a great dog. But she has one problem that has gone from bad to worse and that’s the vacuum cleaner. If you even go near the closet the cleaner is in she starts barking and growling. Bring the cleaner out to vacuum and Carly attacks it. She has to be put outside or in the garage while cleaning. How can we help her get over her fear of the vacuum cleaner? Please help!

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    Minette Reply:

    You need to make the vacuum part of every day life. Put it out in the room for a few days without using it of course. Put her food next to it. after several days drag it around with you, without turning it on and just start to desensitize her to it.

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  10. Robin White says:

    Thank you so much for answering my question. We will try this and get back to you and let you know how it worked!

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  11. EVA Lacks says:

    My dog must think I am sounding too excited maybe
    He thinks I am too anxious ,must be something up.
    Really I am trying too hard,let go and have fun,thanks for advice

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  12. Tosha says:

    My dog Kael is four months old and I’ve been applying this method on him since I got him. My partner and I have some drastically different ideas on how to train a dog. He does get distracted, and being a lab/beagle mix I am not surprised not to mention his age, but I’ll say where’s my big boy and I’ll see him bounding over from where ever. The only issue I have is going to fetch him for, say a bath or nail clipping, I am physically disabled and can only lift up to five pounds where as my Kael is 32lbs already. Any advice? Thanks for all of the helpful articles.

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    Minette Reply:

    Build a ramp

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  13. Lucy Burr says:

    @Tosa Call your little big guy inside, give him a treat and praise him, then sit down with his favorite toy and play with him. Fetch, tug, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Play for 3 to 5 minutes, then put a leash on him and lead him to the bathroom, or wherever you bathe or groom him. Once there, provide lots of verbal praise and a special treat before you begin: i.e., a small piece of cooked chicken or beef, freeze-dried liver, or whatever is his most favorite goodie. Do the deed, bathing, nails, pills or whatever, praising the entire time in a happy voice. Nail clipping – give a tiny piece of his treat after each nail. If he begins to fight you, back off for a few minutes and talk to him, then try again. Bathing – give him a treat before helping him into the tub or shower then give him a treat and tell him how wonderful he his. Get him wet, give him a treat. Soap him up, give him a treat. Rinse him off, give him a treat. Ask him to get out of the tub, give him a treat. Dry him, give him a treat. All the magic yummies need to be accompanied by lots of positive input, even if he acts like a jerk. Good luck. I know this works. My Lab mix loves to swim but hates bathes. Nowadays, he’s washed using the sprayer from my outside shower and will put himself in the shower area with a wagging tail. I don’t use treats anymore, but I no longer have to tie him for his bath. He also comes at a run when I call, tail wagging and a grin on his face, and will slam on the brakes and drop to the ground when I yell “wait,” whether he’s chasing his ball or bringing it back.

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  14. Monika says:

    I was only suggesting to my husband this morning that HE might prefer a friendly voice to a cross one. Hopefully our dog will benefit from that remark!

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