The best time to start training your dog is when he is still a puppy. Puppies, like people, absorb programs and behaviours from a very young age. Except for the ages of 8 to 11 weeks of age, give your puppy the benefit of meeting people, other dogs, and the world at large. During that 3 week period, however, puppies can be spooked very easily. And the things that spook them then can have a deep impression on their psyche.
One of the most important and basic commands a puppy or dog needs to learn is the “Come" command. This can literally save his life if he gets off the lead or runs away from you near a busy street. But it is not an easy command to teach dogs. Persistence and the right approach are important here.
Some of the top mistakes people make when teaching their puppy to “Come" are:
* Scolding him when he does finally come to you - This is a great way to teach your dog how to avoid you! Scolding him won't make him come any quicker One of the key things to remember when training a dog is to praise him when he does respond, no matter how frustrated or annoyed you may be, or how slow he may be. Praise him, and he will associate coming to you with good things and be more compliant next time.
* Just stand there when you call “Come" - Your dog doesn't know what this means yet, and you need to give him visual and other verbal clues as to what you mean. Try squatting down, making happy sounds whilst clapping your hands. Your dog will be eager to come to you then. Make it inviting!
* Praising only when your dog actually comes to you - You need to start praising him BEFORE he comes to you. Like the above point, it makes the dog want to come to you.
* Not practising - In daily life, there may not be much of a reason to use the “Come" command. But unless your dog starts practising it at home, he won't know how to respond when you need him to. You need to set aside time and call him to you. You'll need to practise it at least 12 times a day.
The tone of voice you use is important. The key is to make the process fun, and your voice should reflect this.
References: B Kilcommons and S. Wilson, Good Owners, Great Dogs
To learn more on how to train your puppy to come to you, click here. If you'd like help on choosing good dog obedience school training , click here. Rebecca runs the site http://www.thedogsbone.com