The most common mistake owners make with the come command is calling their dog to them only to make them do something they don’t want to do. A few examples are making them come to make them go inside, to go in the crate, to take something away from them, etc. Of course, it is not wrong to do any of these; however, if that is the only thing the dog relates to the come command, it will not have the desire to come to you.
With training, your dog has learned the clear meaning of the come command and that performing it is not an option. They have also learned that good things are gained by coming. You can upkeep the positive reinforcement of the command by doing some of the following things
- Carry some treats with you while outside and give it to your dog for a good response to the command.
- Use the come command in the house where there are less distractions or competing motivations and just use praise for their reward. Treats are okay to use for this too.
- You can make a game of the command if you have more than one person by having the dog take turns “coming” to each person. Using treats for this game works great! Dogs also love playing this game inside and finding each person in a different room.
- Use the command during feeding time. If your dog already comes running when you are preparing the food, call them just before you start. In their mind, it still leads to feeding time!
- You can also substitute a regular meal and use their kibble for recalls throughout a walk and time outside.
What NOT to do
These are a few fun exercises that your dog will enjoy and will help maintain their training. However, even if you don’t use all of these exercises, be sure to keep in mind a couple of things; do not use the command only when you are giving them an undesirable consequence, and NEVER yell at your dog when they do come to you (they do not understand it is due to the behavior prior to that but see the reason for being yelled at as being close to you), ALWAYS be prepared to enforce the command (by using the leash) and ALWAYS praise your dog WHILE THEY ARE COMING and when they come to you.
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