Teaching a Puppy to Come?

We have a 7 month puppy, Cash, who's going through his "teenage" years. If he's outside and decides he doesn't want to come in (not too often, luckily) he just won't. We get him to sit/lay down, but if we get close he runs off and it turns into a fun game of chase (fun for him anyway). If I give up, he'll never learn to listen. Any suggestions on how to 'discipline' this behavior to get him to stop doing it? DH and I were extremely frustrated yesterday. It took 30 minutes to get him and we only got him because he sat down by our sons, who grabbed his harness. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

By Lori Ebert from Long Valley, NJ

Black and tan dog.

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April 9, 20090 found this helpful

You're right, he needs lessons. This is how you do it...or at least how I've done it with 2 hardheaded doxies:

You tie a long (12-15') light weight lead to his collor or harness. go outside and just sit while he plays. Let him play for awhile (5 minutes or so, just long enough to have forgotten he has the lead attached. Then call him. Don't use lots of words-something like, "CASH COME!" When he won't, as you already know, reel him in like a fish saying the 2 chosen words over and over in a strong voice. When he gets to you praise him to the roof and give a SMALL treat - NOT lunch!

Then let him play again while you ignore him. He needs to forget you have a lead. Then repeat the "CASH COME!!" routine. Do this as long as you can or 4-or5 times, whichever comes first. Go inside and do it again the next time he goes out.

For awhile he only goes out on the lead with a person attached. The whole family needs to be on board with this and you all need to use the same words so he gets used to those words meaning what they say. He gets a treat EVERY TIME and is NEVER allowed to NOT come when called. When he begins to come without having to be reeled in then you can practice a few more times before you take the lead off and do the calling thing without it. If he "falls off the wagon" go back to training.

We're in the process of retraining with my 5 year old doxie (resuced last year) because she WILL NOT come through one particular gate no matter how much I call. I let her play, I walk through the gate and call her. She doesn't come, I reel her in and pretend it's all her idea and she's such a GREAT dog for doing it. We're getting there and you can too IF you're persistent.

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April 10, 20090 found this helpful

Glenn's Mom, thanks for the suggestion. The problem with the lead is we live on a small farm and he goes all over and I think the lead would end up just getting caught/tangled everywhere. Cash does come. I can even let him out unattended and he just hangs on the front porch. It's just on those very rare occasions (think since we've had him, it's happened 5 or so times), he wants to play and we don't. During training, I did do the phrase/reward for each time he came when called. I think his behavior is more of testing the limits rather then not knowing what to do and since it's a rare thing, I just never know when it's going to happen. On these rare events when we do finally catch him, any ideas on how to get him to know/learn it was a bad thing?

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April 14, 20090 found this helpful

I used a method similar to Glenn's Mom with great success. My "teenager", Sophie, while well behaved, occasionally pushes the limits. (I am given to understand that this is normal dog behavior). Sophie graduated to no leash (in the proper areas) with me, but when she decides to make a game out of not coming on command, I do what Victoria on "It's Me or the Dog" teaches. I fold my arms and silently (slowly) walk away. Sophie quickly finds that this game is no fun at all and will catch up with me fairly quickly. (I praise and treat her then). When she is being really stubborn, I just continue to walk away, and eventually she will follow. I hope this is helpful.

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April 21, 20090 found this helpful

Glenn's mom, I saw your other msg, but not sure how to respond to it (the ignoring email) - I've sortof tried that, but going to give it more of a try. Soph6767, thanks for your comments. I'm def going to give the "ignore cash" a try - hopefully this will work cause it can certainly be frustrating. Thanks again for the suggestions.

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April 9, 2009

Does anyone have any ideas on training a puppy to come when called, after she accidentally gets out without a leash on? When I run after her she runs away.


Carla from Harrisburg, PA


Teaching a Puppy to Come

Chase is more fun that anything. Work on teaching your puppy the recall. That is to come when you call. Start on leash, in your hall with doors closed to limit distractions. Say "puppy, come", use this command, reel her in and praise lavishly. Do this everywhere keeping her on lead so you can step on it if necessary. When she is responding, back up and keep her eyes and, using the command, call her to you again and again. Praise, praise, praise. Do this repeatedly and briefly 3-5 times a day. It will take several days. Do it outside in the yard on a long line, working up to 25 or so feet. But, never give a command you are not in a position to enforce.

Teach her "puppy, wait" at the door. Teach that command and praise for compliance. You can have someone holding the long line behind her, setting her up to dash out the door. Give the "wait" command and when she dashes, have them instantly pop the line for a good correction. As soon as she is stopped, praise. Set ups are excellent teaching moments. If she bolts toward the street, and you are desperate, never chase, but flop down on the ground and act noisy and crazy.


She will come to investigate. As you are grabbing her collar, say "puppy come". When you've got her, praise. You will have taught her coming to you is good. I know this works, as I have done it to my embarrassment, but my dog was safe. (01/05/2006)

By Ruth Counter

Teaching a Puppy to Come

I agree with Vicka. Never give a command you can't enforce. If the pup gets away off leash, you can also try running the opposite way or even at a right angle to your puppy. Do not use the same command you use on leash, use another phrase, like "Come on" or "Get your ball," or whatever sounds like it would be fun to follow you. (01/05/2006)

By Jewels955

Teaching a Puppy to Come

Instead of using just a verbal command, you might want to use a visual command as well. With our dog, we always drop down to one knee and hold out our arms wide. Our dog has decided that to get the treat for this, she has to touch her nose to our left hand, which coincidentally puts her across our bodies in grabbing range.


:-) We used clicker training to reinforce this and it works pretty well, although sometimes you have to do it a couple of times because her "touch" is so perfunctory. Also, never use the "come" command to punish her. "Come" should always be a positive thing. (01/06/2006)

By Kathy

Teaching a Puppy to Come

The old ringing of the bell works for us. Start by ringing the bell and immediately give a piece of cheese, or anything your pup likes a lot and does not get often. We have many acres and that bell can be heard for a long way. Our dogs always come running. I've even stopped them from chasing rabbits with this method. And believe me, they were focused on that rabbit! (01/06/2006)

By suzanne

Teaching a Puppy to Come

Has your dog had any obedience training? You might want to check for a reliable trainer in your area. If this problem isn't resolved, your dog could run out into the street and be hit by a car. We stopped this behavior in our dog by having one person hold the dog on a leash while someone else called him and enticed him to run. The person holding the leash gave the command to "Stay". This must be practiced over and over until your dog can stay without the leash. Chasing in dogs is a natural instinct.


If wolves didn't have that instinct, they would probably have starved to death and be extinct today. If your dog won't respond to verbal commands only, the last resort is to use a training collar with remote. The one we have has tone and mild shock with ten levels. We use the tone for training and a mild shock for lunging towards other dogs and cats. Use the verbal command along with this and always praise your dog when it obeys the command.

If you are in a fenced in area and your dog runs away from you, you can run in the opposite direction and call its name. When it comes to you, praise it. Never ever punish your dog for running. The more you yell, the more stressed the dog becomes and the more it will want to run from you. I only use positive enforcement in training my dog and it makes him want to learn.


At the end of the training session we play. That is his reward for being obedient. Be patient, give praise and don't over work your dog. Dogs have a short attention span and will tire after ten or fifteen minutes. Just like a small child. Good luck! (01/09/2006)

By sandra johnson

Teaching a Puppy to Come

Suzanne's advise is called, 'Pavlov's theory'. He proved that by association, a dog would salivate at the sound of a ringing bell because he taught the dog to associate getting a treat with the sound. All these suggestions are great and it's important that your dog "come" each and every time you call it. (01/22/2006)

By sandra johnson

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