Come is debatably the most important command that you can teach your dog. In a world of distractions having a dog that will reliably respond to a recall command is a joy to have as a companion. It allows both of you to have a bit more freedom and for you to feel confidant that your dog will be safe if your leash breaks, if she slips out the door or if she spots that duck in the pond long before you do!
The Concept: Teach your dog that coming back to you always equals good things!
Step 1: Condition your dog to the “come” command. Each day approach your dog with a tasty treat and say, “come” in a happy voice and give her the treat. This is giving her a positive connection to the word “come”.
Step 2: Once you have given your dog treats and worked on connecting them to the word “come”, then show your dog a treat, say the word “come” and step backwards 3 steps. When your dog follows you, give her the treat and praise!
Step 3: Continue practicing while taking a few more steps backwards as your dog catches on. You can incorporate a “sit” into the “come” command by moving the treat from the level of your dogs nose up to your waist. Most dogs will move into a sit automatically. If not, work on that command separately.
Troubleshooting: Not much can go wrong when you are offering your puppy treats and praise! If she is less than enthusiastic, try another kind of treat or work on training before mealtime.
Make sure you never use the “come” command to get your dog to do something he wouldn’t want to do (go in the crate, take a bath, etc). This should be a purely positive experience and any form of negativity surrounding the training will discourage your pup from returning to you reliably!