How to Teach a Dog to Approach on Command?

If you let your dog go for a walk without a leash, then you need to teach him to come back to you on demand. Usually the command “Come to me!” Is used to call the dog, but you can use any other word you like in any language as a command.

There are quite a few ways to train your dog to approach on command. We will consider the method of operant training and the method of aiming with a food target.

Preparation for Training

The first lesson can be held at home, but you can immediately start practicing on the street. You should stock up on food reinforcement in advance, it will also be a food target. This should be a favorite treat for the dog or food that she will definitely not refuse. Make sure that the dog is hungry enough before training.

When starting the activity, take the dog on a medium-length leash that you will hold with your left hand.

Training Procedure

Operant training is characterized by the formation of a complex skill from its last element. And the last element of the approach is to land the dog in front of the owner (and as close to him as possible).

So, stand in front of the dog almost closely, give the command “Come to me!” and plant her. If the dog can sit on command, good. If not, then without any command, take a food target in your right hand and present it to the dog – bring it to the nose and move the target from the nose back and up. Let’s hope the dog reaches for food and sits down. If this does not happen, bend over to the dog, grab the collar with your right hand and fix the dog, preventing it from moving, and sit down with your left, pressing on the sacrum. In the future, the dog should come to you and sit next to you on one command “Come to me!”.

Having seated the dog, repeat again “Come to me!” and feed her 2-3 slices of treats. Then repeat the command again and feed 2-3 pieces of food. And once again, for the dog to sit in front of you for 5-10 seconds.

Over time, she will understand that “To me” means such a position-situation and that this position helps her to be happy, that is, well-fed.

Then we give the command “Come to me!” and take one step back. If the dog does not get up and does not follow you, by pulling on the leash, we force him to do this. Then we sit down the dog in one of the described ways, encourage and force him to sit for up to 10 seconds, feeding food and repeating the command.

It is necessary to train in this way until the dog begins immediately after the command to readily follow you and almost sit down independently. After that, it remains only to increase the distance from the dog. This should be done without haste and at first controlling the length of the leash – that is, by 5-7 steps. Try to run away from the dog, turn to face it. During walks, as often as possible, no matter what the dog is doing, call him, while you can run back a little. If the dog is oblivious to the command, tug on the leash and force it to do so. When approaching, praise the dog, feed the treat and after 10 seconds, let it go for a walk again.

It is necessary to form an idea in the pet that approaching the owner on command is an obligatory attribute of a walk: he came up, sat down, fed you, praised, and sent you out for a walk again. And never punish the dog after the call.

When the dog, under the control of a medium length of the leash, will throw everything and, at your command, run up to you, move on to training on a long leash. And repeat all exercise options.

Take your time to release the dog from the leash. If she realizes that without a leash you lose power over her and her freedom, it will be impossible to prove the opposite.

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