Pet Basic Skills: Come

By Blog Administrator - 22:49

Start out in a small enclosed area. Be sure to have your treats with you! When your pet isn’t paying attention to you, call his name and say “come!” while running backward away from him. Your pet, seeing motion and wondering what on earth you are doing, will come running toward you. When he does, say “good!” and give him a treat while touching his collar. Then release him and repeat the process. After a while, he’ll come without you needing
 to run because he’ll understand that he gets a treat when you call him. As your pet comes to you more reliably, you will need to practice in areas with more distractions.
With a dog, it could be a neighbor’s yard (get permission first!) or a local shop that allows dogs to come inside. It can be very hard for dogs to leave something that smells good, so be patient when you practice in a new area. For a cat, try working around distractions like an aquarium or unfamiliar objects that he will be interested in. The idea is to get your pet used to focusing and paying attention to you even if there are other things around that he would like to do or check out. Be patient! Always go back to step one when you practice in new locations.
Although come isn’t very hard to teach, it can be very hard to get your pet to do it all the time. There are a few tricks to this. First, don’t call your pet only when you want him to stop doing something fun or get in the car to go to the vet. He will quickly figure out that when you call, something bad happens or the fun ends.
To prevent this, call your pet often when he is playing and having a good time. When he comes, praise him and give him a treat. Be sure to grab hold of his collar and hold him for a few seconds. Then release him and allow him to go back and play some more. This way, he never knows if your call is going to end playtime or not. The second key is to call your pet only when you are able to go get him if he doesn’t respond. Otherwise, he will learn that he doesn’t have to do what you say.
Someday your pet might be in danger, and you will need him to come the first time you call. If you get into the habit of calling him four or five times before he comes, you could end up with a problem. If your pet is investigating an interesting smell and doesn’t come when you call him, go get him and lead him quietly inside or to another room, ending the fun.
This correction doesn’t require any yelling—just go get him and give him a little quiet time. Then take him out and try again in a less interesting place so he isn’t so distracted. Make a big deal of it when he comes. For a pet who has a hard time with the come cue, always have treats with you so that you can reward him when he comes the first time you call. He will figure out that coming when called means he gets a treat and gets to continue playing, and that not coming on the first call means the fun ends.

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