One of the most important commands to teach your dog is to “come” to you when called. Especially when the dog is off the leash, in an environment full of distractions, this command is vitally important to getting his attention and making him do what you want — not what he wants. Unfortunately this command has a bad track record; it’s one that is easier said than done due to mistakes made in the training process. If you have taught your dog to “sit” and “stay” but can’t get the dog to come to you in times of need (usually times of distraction), it won’t be consistent training.
Start With Basic Obedience Training
Basic training (sit and stay) is a must before you attempt “come,” and a relationship with your dog. How can you expect him to come if he doesn’t really know you or has had negative experiences actually coming to you? You can’t, and you shouldn’t blame him for that. Use a highly enticing treat and reward lavishly when your dog does come to you. The treat will get him over to you, but if you say “come” as well then he will easily associate food (and good food!) with the word. Practice practice practice! Inside, outside, and everywhere between. Don’t add distractions or take the leash away (outside) unless your dog has shown that he can come reliably when one on one with you.
If you need your dog to do something he will not like, for example come inside after play-time or you need to crate him as you go to work, you could have problem later with the “come” command. Don’t immediately stop his fun or crate him; take a few extra minutes to offer a treat, play a calmer game, or scratch him around the ears (or any favorite place). This way, you don’t associate the command with any negativity, and you bond with your dog.
If you have called your dog and he refuses to come, don’t scold him! When he does finally decide to come, praise him anyway. He still came to you; you’ll just have to work on getting the reaction time faster. If you scold your dog for taking so long even though he finally came, you’ll drive him away and it will be harder to get him to come to you. If every time he listens to you, but not fast enough, he receives a negative stimulus, he’s going to stop listening to you. He doesn’t want to be scolded, especially if he thinks coming to you means a scolding. He doesn’t know that taking a long time is what he’s being scolded for. Consistent praise will increase his trust in you and over time make his reaction time faster.
Practical Obedience Training
My new puppy listens to my husband, more than me. That is simply because he is the Alpha. He feeds, cares for, plays with and trains our dogs. Due to this, obedience training is very appealing to us. The problem is not if my dogs will listen to us. It is who our dogs listen to and when.
The problem is our dog tends to not obey my orders when my husband is around. This leads to an unruly puppy. Obedience Training is essential for a dog in this situation. The reason is our dogs need to know they must obey the pecking order in our house. Me, and my husband and in charge. If we have kids, they will be in charge as well. Teaching your dog to listen to members of your ‘pack’ is essential to proper training.