Shahbazin Anatolian Shepherds How To Make Obedience Training Fun For Your Dog

One of the most important obedience commands is "come." Not only is it convenient for you to have your dog respond promptly to your call, but if your dog accidentally slips his collar and lead while walking with you near a busy street, or if he is in pursuit of something, his life could depend upon a reliable response to the command, "(dog's name), come!" The greatest problems encountered with teaching this command usually stem from inconsistent use of the "come" command - and from testing him on it before he has had enough practice.

The formal recall has four separate parts:

1) Sit/ stay (used as a part of obedience exercises)

2) Come (the movement towards you)

3) Front (sitting squarely in front of you)

4) Finish (signal your dog to return to heel position)

These parts should be taught to your dog as separate exercises, and only occasionally used in sequence. Doing these exercises in the same order will be boring for you and your dog -your dog should be listening to you rather than guessing what you want him to do next. Also, by teaching these exercises separately, you avoid confusing your dog about what you really want him to do, during the learning process. If your dog knows that, right after "stay," he will be told to "come," the moment you leave him in a stay he may decide to get up and move towards you. If he is told "no" and is put back in stay position (and this is also a new command that he is in the process of learning), has he learned what you meant him to learn? You wanted him to stay in one spot until you called him, but perhaps what he has actually learned is that you don't really want him to come to you! After all, when he got up and went to you, he was told "no," and put back in his original position - should you be surprised if, when you walk a little distance away, and then call him, he feigns deafness? (Remember, the command "come" is still just a noise to him - he doesn't yet associate that noise with moving towards you.) This confusion can be avoided by teaching the four parts of the recall as individual exercises. While some parts are easier for older dogs to learn, as they require more concentration or coordination, a 7 week old puppy can learn how to come to you.

If you are teaching a puppy to come to you, congratulations! - you are off to an excellent start, with no bad habits to un-learn. Puppies look to you as a parent and protector, and most want to follow you around. If a puppy wanders a little distance away, tell him to come; run around, clap your hands, smile, talk in a happy, animated tone, and pat and play with the puppy, perhaps feed him a small treat, when he gets to you. The pup will think that you are great fun to be with, and that responding to the sound "(Puppy's name), come!" is a terrific idea. Do not call your puppy to scold him for chewing or soiling the rug, and do not keep calling him until he is too tired to respond. Quit while it is still fun, and practice a bit more later. This will develop an excellent foundation for later recall training.

When your puppy or dog is accustomed to being on a leash, you can practice the 'come', or recall command, during short training sessions or while going for a walk. While your dog is on a 6 to 15 foot leash (a Flexi brand leash that automatically retracts can be convenient for this), tell your dog, in a clear, happy voice, "(dog's name), come!" Don't wait to see what he will do - you want him to become accustomed to responding immediately. As you give the command, give a strong jerk and release on your leash or line (when you are first teaching this exercise, you may wish to use a flat buckled collar rather than a chain collar). Meanwhile, run at least a few steps backwards, while praising your dog enthusiastically. Speed and responsiveness are more important than whether your dog sits when he reaches you. When your dog comes, give him a bit of food or have him play with a favorite toy, such as a tennis ball or a rope bone.

Eventually, by raising the toy or food up in front of you as he reaches you, you can encourage him to sit while looking up at it; this is the beginning of the front exercise, which can be practiced by backing up a step and telling him "front" while holding the goodie over his nose. If your dog has already learned to sit nicely in order to get a treat, he will learn the 'front' exercise very quickly.

Use the 'come' command while on leash during walks, when calling your dog for his dinner or a special treat, or if he's going to get to go for a ride in the car (if he likes car rides!). Go and get your dog or use a different command if you are going to do anything that your dog finds unpleasant (flea-dips, being penned up after a run, or being medicated). You should always be able to give the command once, enforce the command, and praise immediately.

When training an adult dog or an older puppy (and particularly a dog that has had problems with this command) always be able to enforce your command, as well as being quick to reward your dog's response. What this means in your training, is that you will be using a lot of cotton clothesline! Twenty to thirty feet of lightweight cord (such as cotton clothesline or perhaps parachute cord) should be clipped or tied to your dog's collar while practicing the recall at distances, as well as while giving your dog the command to come under distracting conditions. Keep this line on your dog longer than you think that it is necessary - while tempting to try your dog without it, just once, this is not a good idea. If you take off the long line too soon, and your dog ignores a command, this can un-do weeks of work and teach your dog that he only has to listen to you when he has a line attached. Remember to only use the long line and chain training collar when your dog is actually being trained and supervised, or he could become tangled and choke himself. Don't be in a hurry - practice the recall until, no matter what distractions spring up in your dog's path, he will automatically come to you when you call him.

You will know when your dog has developed a reliable recall - which may take several months, or even longer, depending on your dog and the consistency of your training. However, even the best trained dog can forget, just once - or remember, in the nick of time. So, while training is an important tool, and the 'come' command one of the more important facets of training, a securely fenced yard or a dog walking cheerfully on leash is the best defense for your dog's safety, and your peace of mind.

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