Raising Litter Mates



Teaching your dogs to return to you is very important. It could be a matter of life or death in some circumstances so you want to be sure that your canine companion understands and follows through when they hear you say "come". Our black labrador litter mates have shown on many occasions that they understand the word "come" and as a reward they are given more off leash time.

We practice several times a day, indoors and outdoors, and we will continue practicing "come" throughout dog-hood!

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Thursday, September 2, 2010
How to Teach your Puppy to Come When Called

Teaching your litter mates to come when called is important. Practicing and reinforcing this behaviour could save your puppy's life someday, so let's learn how to train them effectively. I strongly recommend training each puppy separately until they both understand what is expected of them.

How to Teach your Puppy to Come

Training tools you will need:

  • Treats
  • Patience
  • Collar
  • Leash (optional)

Step One

Call your puppy by name and establish eye contact.

Step Two

Once eye contact is established say "come". Your puppy should eagerly come toward you.

Step Three

Once you have a hold of your puppy's collar, say "good come" and release the treat. At this point you can release your puppy ( I use the word "break") and repeat.

It is important to grab your puppy's collar before releasing the treat so that you have control of your puppy before releasing him. Grabbing his collar will also get your puppy to understand that handling him by his collar is a positive experience.

If your puppy is not responding you will need to attach a leash to the collar and try again. As you say the word "come" gently pull the puppy toward you and praise. Repeat this a few times, then try without the leash.

Remember that these steps can be used to train an adult dog to come as well. Unlike puppies, adult dogs can be a little harder to train. Be patient, and consistent and you will see results. Once again, be sure to use tasty treats until the command is understood.

How to Teach your Puppy NOT to Come When Called

Never punish your puppy for coming to you. No matter what bad he/she has done before calling him/her to you, always praise when they return.

I have often seen owners repeatedly call their dog to them just to scold them for FINALLY returning to them. If your dog/puppy doesn't come the first time, simply attach a leash to them when they do return to you to and resume leash walking. The reason for this is so your dog doesn't associate coming to you with a negative consequence, he/she just loses off leash privileges. Once your dog is able to come the first time when called, give him/her lots of praise and release the dog for more off leash time. Repeat this a few times, rewarding him/her greatly then releasing for more fun!

Never call your dog to come to you for anything they perceive is negative. For example, if your puppy/dog doesn't like his nails being trimmed and associates "come" with a negative consequence each time he/she comes to you, you can bet your canine companion will not return to you when told. You would be doing yourself a favor by simply approaching the dog to do these things, and reward them after the nail trim is complete.

Always keep your litter mates wanting more! Don't let them become bored with what you are teaching them. Remember that your new puppies are eager to please you, be patient and consistent, and your puppies will surprise you with their intelligence!

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