You want your dog to always come straight to you whenever you call for them. Although, as any dog owner may tell you, this is much easier said than done. That is why we are about to explain to you just how to accomplish this goal with amazing reliability.
Afterward, you will be able to call them to your side using any cues you may want to try. Then, we will cover the usefulness of playing hide and seek with your dog whenever you get a chance. This is because it is how to get them understanding the game you want to play to get them engaged in the gameplay along with you.
Teaching the ‘come here’ command
So, let’s kick things off with exactly the things you want to be doing from the very first day you bring your new dog home.
There are a couple of keys that will make things much easier, and more fun, for yourself as an owner and the trainer of your new dog. Remember always to have fun, as these times will be creating. Even when it feels frustrating at the moment, eventually you will look back at this time fondly.
First, you want to engage in play with them immediately. Not only because it is fun, and part of the reason you got a dog in the first place, but it will also prove to be useful later on.
For example, run around the house hiding from your pup. While hiding you should call out your ‘come’ command. That command could be a word, a whistle, or any audible cue to use for them to come to you.
When your puppy finds you give him/her lots of adulation and offer treats to mark the occasion. This will reinforce them performing the behavior you desired of coming to you when you called. This simple gameplay will become the foundation for teaching them to come when you call.
Reinforcing the command ‘come’ through repetitions
Now, when you have played the ‘come to find me’ hide and seek game quite a few times, you can move up to teaching come.
This works best after you have taught your dog to sit and stay. This is because the first step to teaching them this way is getting them to sit and then stay.
Then, you slowly back up a few steps and give the ‘come’ verbal command cue you have already instilled in your pup from hiding and seeking games. Once you give the cue, use some exaggerated gestures that encourage the pup to come to you.
While cheering them on, you will give your audible cue repeatedly. Do this until the dog breaks from the stay and comes to you. Then, you can hand over the treat you are holding out for them encouragingly.
During this same moment, you will repeat your command cue along with phrases like ‘good boy/girl, good come’, and other congratulatory phrases. Just make sure those phrases include your command word or audible cue.
Doing this will help reinforce that they should perform the behavior of coming to your side when you give that command cue, whatever you choose that to be. Some people prefer the word ‘come’, ‘here’, ‘get over here’, or similar simple words and phrases.
Or, you can use a simple whistle noise or whistle pattern. Just make sure that you can make the command easily and loudly enough to call for your pup should they ever get far away from you.
For example, when you need to call them to you from across a dog park. You should plan this out well in advance. Especially since you will have been using this command cue all along during your gameplay times leading up to this point.
After your dog comes to you the first time, you repeat the process of making them sit and stay. Then, each time you do, you go a little further away before commanding them to come to you again.
Again, you offer a treat and plenty of praise when they get to your side. Repeat the process as you move further and further away from them. Slowly you will work your way into being in another room before they come to you.
This sets you up for introducing the seek command in the future, which you will use to train your dog to seek out a certain toy, for starters. But now we are just getting ahead of ourselves.
To wrap up the lesson
As you get to move further away, and even into other rooms of the house before commanding them to come. You can use the command in other situations too.
For instance, when it’s time for them to come inside from the backyard. It allows you to use this command in a variety of situations, including when you are just hanging around the house. Like when you realize that your pup is somewhere else, in another part of the house.
In which case, you can use your pups’ newfound vocabulary for calling them to your side. Just be sure to always offer a treat and lots of positive reinforcement by verbally praising them while including your come command cue repeatedly.
These various repetitions, across many settings, will just reinforce the new vocabulary your pup has just learned. This will make all that work from the beginning of simple hide and seek gameplay, through the stay then come phase all worth the effort.
Finally, using the command cue through the different settings and applications will fully instill the proper behavior response from your dog.
All of this will come together and your pup will know inside and out what it is you want them to do. For them to come to your side when you give them that command cue you chose to create this response in their behavior.
Plus, you will have begun the hide and seek gameplay routine that you can now begin to add the seek command. Which you do by having them look for their favorite toy instead of finding you.
It can eventually lead to when your dog has all the same skills as a rescue or police dog, maybe just on a more domestic level and application. But, it is still fun to teach your dog these skills. You never know when they can lead to other opportunities for growing your dog’s vocabulary and known skills.