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How to Train your Dog to Respond to the Call

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dog trainingIf there’s one complaint that you hear from people without dog training experience, it’s “my dog doesn’t come when I call.”

Getting your dog used to being called is one of the oddest of training exercises because a lot of us do it completely wrong.

What we want to achieve is our dog to come sprinting to us at the sound of their name. “Here Spike” and Spike, the lumbering Labrador with a heart of gold, comes running up to us at a full tilt.

What’s needed here is to implant in the dog’s head that this is the most important command of them all. We need positive motivation to pull that off, and that means praise and rewards.

Here’re a few quick ideas to get you started on this all important command:

  1. Don’t call your dog if you’re going to chew them out. This can undo all of the training up to this point in only a few moments by adding a negative connotation to having you call them. As far as Spike is concerned, it might now be a bad idea to come to your call.
  2. Think of it as making your dog come check in with you, rather than to stop whatever they’re doing. It’ll make things a lot easier on both of you, and you’re bound to experience more success this way.
  3. Use a long leash until you have complete control. Leave it on the ground, but be ready to grab it if they’re not paying attention to the command.
  4. If you’re having trouble getting your dog back to the car after you’ve completed your training, use a little bit more praise and treats to get them used to the idea.

The basic idea is this.

dog training toyCall your dog and let them get to you. You should be working towards only having to issue the command a single time.

Give your dog a treat or praise within a couple of seconds of them getting to you, to reinforce that it’s a good idea to get over here.

Let them go back to doing what they were doing rather than monopolizing their time with each time you give the order.

Make sure your dog has a good time, and pretty soon they’ll come running at the merest mention of their name. Remember that positive motivation like treats and praise are the absolute best way to reinforce in your dog’s mind that it’s a good thing to come running. It’s the most powerful motivation we have at our disposal, yet people fail to utilize it and then wonder why they’re not experiencing success.

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This dog training series is based on the program of the extremely talented dog trainer Daniel Abdelnoor, better known as “Doggy Dan”. We are great fans of him and he offered you as our reader a resource guide of his dog training basics. You can download it here on our site for free:

He offers also a great 4 Part Video Series which has already helped a lot of people (and is entertaining at the same time):


Susan Cropper

As a veterinarian practicing for 48 years, Dr. Cropper brings her priceless experience to all our readers. She is currently taking care of her two rescues, Ollie the Greyhound and Bryce the Pitbull mix, that is why she always sees things as a veterinarian and a pet owner simultaneously.

View all posts by Susan Cropper | DogsRecommend.com