Training come is one of the most important things that you can teach your dog. Especially if you want to enjoy off-leash time in your yard or on hikes. Keeping training fun is the number one way to create reliable cues and by keeping it fun you can get the whole family including the kids on board with practicing. Here are some games and videos to get you started. Happy Training.
Round Robin Recall
This game is easy to play as long as you have more than one person. It is great for teaching your dog to come to everyone in the home. When you are playing this game you will need to make sure that everyone playing has lots of small sized treats that your dog is crazy for. Start in a area with low distraction like the basement, graduate to a fenced in back yard then try it at the park with a long line leash for added difficulty.
To start this game just stand in a small circle, say your dog’s name and take three big steps back. When your dog gets to you give him a treat for coming when called. As you practice your circle will get bigger and bigger.
Sometimes your dog will get really good at this game and guess who is going to call them. When this happens have someone else call the dog to come.
Run and Hide
If you have aspirations of having a dog that walks with you on off-leash hikes this is an excellent exercise for your dog to learn to come. It not only teaches your dog to come, but it also teaches your dog to pay attention to where you are. For this you need a long-line leash and lots of yummy treats. Long- line leashes should be long enough you can allow your dog to have freedom, but light enough your dog can’t feel that he is wearing one.
Next time your out and about with your dog wait for your dog to get a little to far ahead. Once your dog gets a little far ahead of you sneak away and hide behind the nearest tree. When your dog finds you get super excited and give lots of treats and praise. Your dog will start to think “I really have to keep an eye on my person, because she’ll sneak away.”
Catch Me if You Can
This one is really easy also. It uses a little bit of frustration to build a fast recall and a strong desire for your dog to want to come when called. For this you will need a way to escape from your dog and yummy treats.
Wait until your dog isn’t looking at you and say “come” a second later run into another room as fast as you can and close the door behind you. Once in the other room try squeaking a squeaky toy. If your dog catches you before you can make it into the other room he gets a treat or gets to play with his favorite toy. Whichever he likes best, but your goal should be to get there before he does.
When you come back and start the game again ignore the dog and wait for him to get distracted again then repeat.
This exercise is fabulous for teaching straight, centered and correct recalls. This is perfect for people who want a nice obedience competition style recall. It also builds faster recalls. For this you will need yummy treats. Start the game by facing your dog with your feet wide. Next say “come”. The second your dog looks your way move backward and when your dog get close enough toss the treat between your legs so your dog chases the treat running between your legs. This will teach your dog to target the center of your body. The thrill of chasing the reward will also teach your dog to hustle when he hears come.
Great for rocket speed recalls, but it’s a good idea if you practice a few other games first as this is a more advanced game. If you want a dog that races to you as fast as he can when you say come this is a good one. You will need a helper, harness, long line leash and favorite toy OR lots of yummy treats. Have your helper hold the leash and let your dog walk to the end of the leash and pull a little. jog backwards getting your dog excited by showing the treat or toy and talking to them, as you continue to run away say “Come” and let your helper release the dog when he hears come. This allows your dog to associate come with peak excitement and running to you.
Here is a video for some foundation recall games.