Saturday, April 26, 2008

How to Teach Your Dog to Come When Called


It is so important to teach your dog to “come”. The “come” command could save your dog’s life some day. I learned the hard way. My dog, Griffin, was 1 ½ years old when he was hit by a car. When I think about it, the whole series of events leading up to his tragic loss runs in slow motion in my mind.
Griffin and I were sitting in the yard with my 18 month old son. A squirrel went darting past and Griffin took off like a rocket after him. I can still see him disappearing into the woods behind our house. This happened before leash laws and Griffin was always loose.
About two minutes later, the phone rang. It was the police telling me my dog had just been hit by a car. My neighbor took care of my son while I went to the scene of the accident. Griffin lay on the ground, bleeding from the mouth and a glazed look in his eyes. I don’t know whether he knew I was with him or not.
The person who hit him was in tears and offered to bring Griffin to the vet. I rode in the back with Griffin’s head in my lap. We arrived at the vet, but there was too much internal damage to do anything. Griffin died a few minutes after we arrived at the vet.
I only tell this story so you can see how important it is to teach your dog the command, “come”. I have a puppy now. He is 5 months old and I work on the recall command every day. The puppy is doing very well with returning to me when I call him, but I am going to continue training him until “come” is perfected.
I use the following method:
1. I tie a 50 foot length of rope onto the puppy’s collar then let him wander in the yard.
2. I say his name and then the word “come”. Then I draw the rope to me until the puppy gets back to me.
3. I have him sit and then praise him and give him a treat.

4. We do this about twenty times a day.
After three days, the puppy was running back to me and I didn’t have to pull the rope.

I also use this method to train him not to leave the yard.
When the puppy reaches the boundary of the yard, I pull on the rope and say, “No”. He is learning quickly not to go beyond the borders of the yard. I do this in different areas of the property, so he learns the boundaries.

I hope this helps you, and that you teach your dog the “recall command”, so you don’t have to go through the tragedy that I did.