When you get a puppy or adopt a rescue, you will probably want to teach them basic obedience ASAP.
Basic Obedience Training
When I started fostering 2 year-old impulsive Kilo the Pug, one of the first things I searched for was “how to teach your dog to come “.
Benefits of a Strong Recall
Safety, Confidence and Trust – that your dog will always come when called. This helps get your dog’s attention to avoid dangerous or stressful situations for example your dog won’t bolt out into traffic or after dogs or people if a door is open, or if they do get out they will come back to you before a major incident. If you can’t control your dog, you are always on alert and anxious, and that is not a pleasant way to live, for either you or your dog.
Freedom – to go off leash hiking in approved areas and play with pals in the park for example at the Pug Grumble.
Focus – great for agility courses and other high intensity and high traffic situations.
Puppy Training Tips from Trainer Lucinda Glenny CPDT-KA
Renowned trainer Lucinda Glenny CPDT-KA, owner of Canine Campus , shared her Puppy Training Tips for the Recall Cue. The Recall Command should be one of the first that you teach your puppy. It allows you to be confident that your dog will come to you every time you call.
Glenny was featured in our Spotlight on our top Canadian trainers and specializes in working with dogs with anxiety issues like my rescue Kilo the Pug. She has gained an excellent reputation for her gentle, consistent research-based approach to training.
Recall training is as important to teach a new puppy as it is an older dog. So get started today!
How to teach your dog to come in 4 easy steps
Practice in an enclosed, safe space indoors or in a garden with no distractions.
- Have your Puppy Sit and Wait.
- Walk a few feet away and kneel or stand and face your Puppy.
- Call them to you by name or “come”.”Be inviting, pat your legs, hold up a treat or toy and open your arms to your dog.
- As they get very close drop a treat between your feet or knees so they come all the way to you and reward them with a marker word like yes and positive reinforcement.
Progress towards a reliable recall or “come” in a bigger space. Put your puppy on a leash in the garden or park. Let them move away from you a short distance and explore or ask them to “sit” and you move away from them. Ask them to “come” as above and then give a treat and celebrate when they do. If they have trouble listening, guide them towards you and still reward.
Practise this with a longer leash in more challenging spaces once your puppy knows and obeys the command well. I have a 20′ leash for Kilo to practise with.
If they do not come, do not chase your dog. Try to get them to chase you.
- Have your Puppy Sit and Wait.
- Move away a few paces then call your puppy to you as you keep moving. Let them chase and catch you.
- Give them a tug toy or treat and engage with them.
You can use both treats and toys as rewards as well as affection and verbal reinforcement, whatever works best for your dog. Kilo is VERY food motivated so treats are his favorite reward. He also loves hugs and praise. He does not respond at all well to “no” or punishment. I mainly tempt or lure him to do things to get a treat.
Training Kilo the Pug to Sit and Come Video
I am not a professional trainer but I can also share the steps I took with Kilo, using reward-based positive training methods in the video below.
Unfortunately, Pugs are notoriously hard to train to come on command, especially when there are distractions. Kilo seems to have selective hearing. He can hear the crackle of a treat or food bag or a piece of kibble hit the floor or the fridge open, but his name called, not so much.
The fact that Kilo was already 2 years old and had some bad habits (and possibly some experiences which made hime anxious/reactive) did not help. While we made great progress and he generally comes when called now and loves playing chase with toys and treats, I would still not trust Kilo’s recall off leash, especially if he sees someone or something he wants to chase or gets frightened by a big dog. He will bolt.
Remember, training your dog requires a lot of patience, if your dog doesn’t seem to get it at first don’t get mad. Keep things positive and fun. With puppies keep training sessions short, just a few minutes a few times a day. Practise makes perfect (or not).
I always have Kilo “Come” then “Sit” before his breakfast and dinner.
Sponsor Thank You
This Training Tuesday is brought to you by Bullwrinkles and Barnsdale Farms Select Treats, the Ultimate Treats for Dogs, perfect for training as they are all natural, low in fat, no additives.