Coming When Called
not be given unsupervised time off-leash unless
they are in a fenced in yard. Coming when called
is something dogs have to be taught how to do. Some
guardians will say, "He knows how to come, he is
just being spiteful of stubborn." Dogs do not have
the ability to be spiteful, more than likely the
dog learned that if she came, then she was scolded
instead of praised or they were provided with inconsistent
way to get a dog to come reliably is to implement
an obedience training regimen. A dog manners class
is highly recommended. This is one of the more difficult
cues to teach your dog, but it can be lifesaving.
The best way to teach this is to take small steps,
have patience and be consistent!
tips could also help you begin to establish a reliable
- First, practice "come" on a short leash in the house.
Try having the dog sit, take step back and give
the cue to your dog. Say the cue ONLY ONCE. If your
dog does not step toward you, use other sounds to
get your dogs attention, but do not repeat the "come" cue. You can also step backwards away from the dog,
as most dogs and puppies will then come towards
you. Work up to practicing come on a long line in
your house. As the distance increases between you
and your dog, you may need to run backwards several
steps or use other sounds to get your dog to come
towards you, but do not repeat the cue. Once your
dog is responding reliably inside, go outside to
your yard, start back on a shorter leash and then
work up to the long line as your dog responds. Then
try going to a park where there are other distractions,
start back on a shorter leash and work up to the
long line again. Set your dog up for success by
going slowly. It may take months before you can
go to park on a long line and have your dog come
- If there are two people in the household, you can
also practice come. Each person should have treats
and stand 6-10 feet apart in the same room. Have
the dog sit in front of one person, and the other
person can say the dog's name then the cue to come.
Reward the dog when she comes all the way to you.
Then the other person can do the same to get the
dog back. Practice this until your dog reliably
goes to the other person. You can then increase
your distance from each other over several days,
eventually working up to different ends of the house.
Once your dog is doing this consistently, you can
then move outside to a fenced in area, or tether
your dog to a point that is equal distant between
you two. Standing 6-10 feet apart again until you
get the behavior consistently before moving further
apart. There are more distractions outside, so have
patience and take slower steps, if needed.
- Call the dog when you know she will come (e.g. at
mealtimes). You can also put a few treats on the
floor, crouch down and cup your hands over them.
Give your dog the cue, and when she comes all the
way to you, uncover your hands to that she can eat
- Your dog is not likely to return to you if your
voice sounds angry, so never yell at your dog if
she does not come immediately. When your dog finally
does return, do not punish her, as she will learn
that bad things happen when she returns to you.
Your dog will then be less likely to come to you
next time. During training, set your dog up for
success in the house by not giving her the cue to
come unless she is leashed.
- ALWAYS praise in a receptive tone of voice and smile
whenever the dog approaches. ALWAYS reward with
praise and high value treats when beginning this
training. Coming to you must be better than anything
else to your dog. Once she is reliably coming, you
can slowly start to phase out the treats every time,
and only reward your dog's returns that are rapid
and direct. Refrain from calling your dog to come
when you are going to do something she finds uncomfortable,
like clipping her nails, for example.
If you would like to
work with a Wisconsin Humane Society behaviorist
one-on-one regarding this behavior topic, please
call 414-431-6173 to schedule a consultation.