When a dog fears his name. Has your dog ever refused to come when called upon by his name or the “Come” command? There is a reason for this. How many of us are guilty of using Fido’s name when the dog has done something you didn’t like. Or, how about Fido’s name, followed by a command that doesn’t seem fun or interesting? When we say “Fido, come” and then drag our best friend into the bath tub, the next time Fido hears “Fido, Come” he thinks “Yikes bath!!! Run!!”
Not only is this frustrating for you, but this can also pose a threat to your dog’s health (horse hooves, cars, and many other hazards await our beloved pets outside the comfort of our homes). The “come” command is one of the most important commands your dog will ever learn and it could save his life.
Getting Fido to come. We can start by using proper training equipment: flat buckle collar or head collar combined with a 6 foot leash. Now the best way to call your dog is to say “Come” and always have something he loves (petting, treats, or his favorite toy) to give to him upon his return. However, before he gets the things he loves he should sit in front of you. Only then he gets his reward. This is what I call the “no free lunch policy”. If Fido has already learned to ignore the “Come” command then you can try the command “Fido, Here”.
One way to practice the come command:
1. The running “Come” game. Bait your hand with a yummy pea sized treat. While your dog is sitting or standing in front of you, let him sniff your baited hand (don’t give him the treat yet). When your dogs nose is attached your hand start backing up. Encourage your dog to keep up and make it fun. If your dog isn’t keeping up with you slow down if you need to. Say “Come” just before he catches your hand. When he does, praise him and give him the treat.
This article was originally published in the horse training newsletter of Bernardine Diers.