The most important command that you can teach your puppy is the Come command. It is a necessary requirement for future obedience, agility or lure coursing training, and you will also find use for this command many times during the day. If your dog should ever get loose, this command can save him from running onto a street full of traffic and, at the very least, it will save you time in trying to run down a very quick, agile hound.
Before you begin to teach the Come command, make sure that the area is free from other dogs and distractions. You want your puppy to concentrate on you, and if there is a lot of noise or dogs and people about, the pup can hardly be blamed if he does not give you his attention. Place a collar on him and attach a leash that is at least ten feet in length. When the pup reaches the end of the leash, call his name to get his attention, and then give him the command “Come” while gently pulling on the leash. I always have treats ready, and when the pup is at my side I give him a treat and make a big fuss over him by telling him what a wonderful dog he is. Once the pup realizes that “Come” means a treat and lots of praise, he will, no doubt, run to you when called.
The biggest mistake that people make is to call the dog when he has done something wrong and then scold him. The dog may not remember what he did wrong, but he will remember that when he came to you he was scolded. Never scold your dog if he comes to you when called. Always praise him for responding to this command. If you must talk to your dog about something that he has done, such as stealing your four-year-old’s hot dog, go to him and then tell him that he was bad. Never call him to you in order to scold him. It goes without saying that you should never strike your dog. Saying “Bad Dog” in a harsh tone of voice is punishment enough. Your wants to please you and does not want you to be upset with him.
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