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Puppy Training learning to come when called

Teaching your puppy to come when called is one of the most important commands they can learn. It is not only a foundation for further training but also a critical safety measure to prevent your puppy from getting into dangerous situations.

This step-by-step guide will help you effectively teach your puppy to respond to the “come” command, ensuring they learn to return to you reliably, even in distracting environments.

Step 1: Choose Your Command Word Carefully

  • Be Consistent: Decide on a specific word or phrase for the recall command, such as “come” or “here,” and use it consistently. Avoid using the puppy’s name alone as the recall command, as their name should get their attention, not necessarily prompt them to return to you.

Step 2: Start in a Distraction-Free Environment

  • Begin Indoors: Start training in a quiet room without distractions. You want your puppy to focus solely on you and the command.
  • Use a Leash: Initially, you may want to use a long leash to gently guide your puppy back to you if they get distracted.

Step 3: Make it Rewarding

  • Use High-Value Treats: The reward for returning to you should be highly motivating. Use your puppy’s favorite treats, something they don’t get at other times.
  • Praise Generously: Combine treats with enthusiastic verbal praise and petting to show your puppy that coming back to you is the best choice they can make.

Step 4: Practice the Command

  • Get Down to Their Level: Kneel or bend down when calling your puppy. This makes you less intimidating and more inviting.
  • Short Distances: Begin with short distances, gradually increasing as your puppy’s reliability improves.
  • Use a Happy Tone: Always use a positive, happy tone when calling your puppy. Your voice’s enthusiasm is a powerful motivator.

Step 5: Gradually Increase Difficulty

  • Add Distractions: Slowly introduce new distractions, such as new environments, people, or other animals, to practice the command in different settings.
  • Increase Distance: As your puppy becomes more reliable, increase the distance from which you call them.

Step 6: Never Punish on Arrival

  • Avoid Negative Associations: Never scold or punish your puppy when they come to you, even if it took longer than expected or if they were returning from a misdeed. Doing so can create a negative association with the command.

Step 7: Practice Regularly

  • Incorporate into Daily Routine: Use the recall command throughout the day, not just during training sessions. This reinforces the command as a part of daily life.
  • Keep Training Sessions Short: Puppies have short attention spans. Keep training sessions short and sweet to maintain their interest and enthusiasm.

Step 8: Proofing the Command

  • Test in Safe Outdoor Areas: Practice the command in fenced areas where it’s safe for your puppy to be off-leash.
  • Use a Long Line: If you move to an area without fencing, consider using a long line leash to maintain control while still allowing your puppy some freedom to explore.

Step 9: Add Challenges

  • Introduce New Commands: Once your puppy reliably responds to the recall command, start teaching additional commands or tricks, integrating them into your recall practice to keep your puppy engaged and challenged.
  • Vary Your Rewards: Start varying the rewards. Mix treats with toys, playtime, or affection to prevent your puppy from expecting the same reward every time.

Step 10: Reinforce Regularly

  • Lifetime of Learning: Reinforcement should continue throughout your dog’s life. Regular practice helps maintain their responsiveness to the command.

Teaching your puppy to come when called is a process that requires patience, consistency, and positivity. By making the experience rewarding and gradually increasing the level of difficulty, you can ensure your puppy learns this crucial command effectively.

Remember, the goal is to build a reliable response in a variety of situations, ensuring your puppy’s safety and strengthening your bond.

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