I’m often asked what is the first thing I should teach my puppy, or my older dog, when they arrive home for the first time. And to me, the most important thing you can teach your puppy (or older dog) is to come when they are called.
Why? Couple reason. One, it can literally save their lives. Heading to the road? Come! Slip out of the collar on a walk? Come! See a mean big bad dog/person heading your way? Come!
Another reason, is that it is so very frustrating to chase your puppy around the yard, or even around the living room. They have twice as many legs as you do, and love a good game of Chase The Puppy! You need to go to work! Puppy wants to play! Argh!
And if you are ever stopped by a Bad Man who says your puppy is his and the policeman says ‘see who he comes to, call him by his name’ No Worries! Puppy will come! What, you don’t watch Annie? It happens!
My first rule of come, is that it should be a party. Every single time puppy comes to you, good things should happen. You should never call them to come and immediately do something bad, like scold or crate pop. Come is for good things! Pets and kisses and treats and ball play! Yay!!! You want coming to you to be the best thing that ever happened to them!
Say their name to get their attention, then add the word “Come!” “Chandler?! Come!” One word. Plus their name. Bend over, squat down, hold out a treat, a ball, whatever. When they arrive, Party on!
If you have a tiny or a shy one, face them, closely, take one step back as you say come. Often they will just follow you. Yay!
I like my dogs under what I call ‘voice control’ and come is the easiest best way to get that goal accomplished.
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