If you have a dog, chances are you have caught yourself using the phrase “come here” or some kind of variant. Just like “mummy” and “daddy” are the first words that most children learn, one of the first words your dog will learn will be “come”. After all, being able to summon your pet at any given moment is a very valuable skill! Here are some tips to keep in mind when teaching your dog this vital command:
1. First, put your dog on a leash. Have treats at the ready!
Putting your dog on a leash will make it easier for you to direct your dog and be in control. The treats, on the other hand, act as a powerful lure for your dog. It goes without saying that if your dog has a favorite treat, you should opt for that!
2. From your side of the leash, say “come”. Don’t move just yet.
Beckon your dog until he or she understands that you would like them to move towards your direction. Moving to the end of the leash allows them to have freedom of movement.
3. As your dog moves towards you, keep moving backward.
Moving backward instills in the dog the cue that whenever they hear the word “come,” they should move towards you. Keep moving backward until they get used to the command.
4. When your dog catches up with you, reward them by saying “yes!” and giving them a treat.
A reward motivates the dog to obey you. By speaking in an excited, friendly tone, you are letting your dog know that they have done well. By offering them a treat, they will know that responding to the word “come” results in their favorite snack.
5. Practice often
Practice makes perfect! Like any other thing that you will teach your dog, the repetition of a habit results in it becoming part of normal behavior. Keep practicing this command with your dog, and they will make it a part of their vocabulary.
The most important factor in teaching your dog the “come” is having a good relationship with your dog. You should also ensure that you do not “poison the cue” by doing something negative when they heed to your call such as scolding them. Let your dog know that coming to you is always a great experience!