Training a puppy to come is one of the most basic skills you can teach your pet. It not only encourages polite behavior, but also it can enable your pet to be safe in situations where he would otherwise run the other direction. One of the factors that you must keep in mind when teaching your puppy to come is that in his mind, he’s programmed the other way. Puppies don’t come when called because they may not know their name, they may not understand what you’re saying, there’s no benefit to coming or they may be punished by their owner.
When you keep these factors in mind, you can avoid these obstacles and encourage a positive environment where your pet actually wants to come to you when called. For starters, make sure your pet knows her name and understands what you’re saying. Speak in short sentences and clear tones that don’t show frustration or worry. “Come” or “come here” are adequate; just make sure you say them firmly. Never punish your dog when she does come, as she’ll learn to associate this with negative consequences.
To start training your puppy to come, discover a reward object that your pet loves such as a toy, treat or tug of war game. Just make sure that whatever the item may be, it’s one that attracts the attention of your furry friend. Then choose a time where you can focus on training your dog without having distractions nearby. When your puppy only has you to focus on, you can call his name, get his attention and show him his favorite toy.
When your pet focuses on you, turn the training session into a fun game. Call her name and say “Come!” and then start to run in the other direction. Your pet should instinctively run after you and have fun chasing you when she hears her name, followed by the command. When your puppy does chase after you, reward her with his special toy and lots of praise. It won’t be long before she knows that she’s making you happy and getting positive attention for it.
You should practice this exercise one or two times a day for at least one week. Don’t tire your pup out either, but instead leave him wanting more. Once he gets a hang of it, you can expand your comfort zone, take him outside and do the same exercise. You can even try incorporating other things that may interest your dog and then focus his attention back on you. Remember that this will be a continuous process that should be practiced often so that your dog will always feel comfortable coming when called.