Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called
Training Exercises for Dogs of Any Age continued...
You’ll need to sneak peeks at your dog from your hiding place to keep tabs on her whereabouts. Before your dog has a chance to go far from you, call her name. Call just once and then wait. Hopefully, she’ll search for you. If she doesn’t, wait another minute or two and call again. If she starts to go in the wrong direction, call again, this time a bit louder so that she’s better able to locate you. Don’t move out from your hiding place until your dog finds you. Only call her if she’s searching in the wrong direction or if she’s close but can’t seem to locate you. When she finds you, reassure her with plenty of hugs and kisses. Again, your goal is to teach her that you might disappear at any moment, so she’d better keep a close eye on you at all times.
Some dogs only need this experience once, and they never stray far from their pet parents again. Others need a few experiences like this before they get the message. If you do have to repeat the exercise, wait at least a week in between. You want the experiences to have a strong impact on your dog, so it’s best to spread them out. If your dog never seems to get upset at your disappearances, this type of training isn’t appropriate for her. Try it a few times, but if it still doesn’t work, focus on the other exercises outlined in this article.
Never allow your puppy or dog to be off-leash at the park until she’s reliable at coming when called at home and in your yard and neighborhood. The first time you go to the park, attach a long line—a lightweight leash or rope that’s at least 20 feet long—to her collar. Walk in the park while holding the end of the line, but make sure the line isn’t tight. Allow it to drag on the ground between you and your dog.