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  • Start indoors as the dog will have less distractions and more chance for success.

    Introducing the Idea Encourage the dog to come to you without actually saying the word “come.” Like training all other behaviors, you want to make sure that he comes reliably before adding a cue. You can clap and call out, “Puppy,” or squeak a toy. Click and treat when he comes to you. Repeat several times.

    Introducing the Cue Once he comes to you each and every time you clap or call, you can start adding the cue. As soon as he starts running toward you, say the word, ”come” (or whatever word you choose to use). Always give praise and a reward. Once you have practiced this several times you can start giving the cue when your dog is not paying attention to you.

    Progressions Dogs do not generalize well so it is important to make gradual steps and to reduce your criteria when changing location or adding distractions.

    • Increase distance.
    • Call him from different rooms in the house.
    • Add distractions – you’ll need to decrease distance when you add distractions. Have a visitor in the room, drop something on the floor, ring the doorbell, etc.
    • Start grabbing his collar while you give him his treat.
    • Send the dog back and forth between two or more people in a room. Each person takes turns calling the dog and gives him a treat.
    • Practice at other people’s homes.

    Move outside

    • On leash in a fenced yard.
    • Off leash in a fenced yard.
    • When walking your dog, say, “come,” and quickly back up several steps.
    • Always praise and treat.
    • Take him out on a long line and let him get farther away from you before calling him.
    • Add distractions of dogs behind fences, cats, postal carrier, etc.
    • Go to enclosed areas where you can safely practice off leash. Start off with low distraction and then add distractions.

    Janine Allen

    Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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