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Teaching Pup to Come
by Lynn
Teaching Pup to ComeWe hope someone can help us teach our 6 month old male Maltese, named DJ, to "Come" when we call him. He just stares at us, or ignores us as though he doesn't hear us. Although we know for a fact that he is not deaf! He also thinks it is a chase game! He runs all around the furniture, begging for us to chase him, but we don't. It is frustrating to not have him come when called, and dangerous as well! He is very sweet tempered, and is learning what "No" means, but doesn't always respond to it! Especially when he has picked up an article that we don't want him to have, and we say "No!" "Drop!" He just thinks that's the cue to run! And he doesn't stop till he's worn out! We don't chase him, and we try to convey to him by the word "No" and "Shame" that we aren't happy with that behavior. But it doesn't seem to make an impression on him yet! Any advise would be appreciated! Thanks!Lynn, and Family


Lynn, I'm a trainer and I will try to help as this is, in my humble opinion, THE most important command! To teach your puppy to come, put him on a leash (6 ft, at first), distract him, say "DJ, come!" (with some emphasis on *come* and PLEASE say it happily and not demanding!). ONLY GIVE THE COMMAND ONE TIME!! If he starts coming promptly, quietly praise him as he comes and much more when he gets to you. If when you call him, he hesitates but comes, just give him the praise he deserves...some, not alot. If he doesn't start to come at all, reel him into you with the leash, quietly praising. Do this on a 6 ft. lead until he is CONSISTENT. Then go to a 15 ft. lead and do the same as above. Always work on a lead so you can reinforce (reel him in). Inside the house, you can make a game out of practice by going to a room and playfully calling him to you, using, "DJ, come here!" instead of "Come". Vary the rooms. Use lavish praise and treats, also, if you want to. (works quicker with treats, just don't forget to phase them out as he learns). ALWAYS praise a recall as if it is the best thing he has ever done or will do. Even if he comes to you with something dead in his mouth, breaks something on the way, or whatever. Never scold when he doesn't come or finally came. And don't just practice at home. Go different places to "work"....you need distractions and unfamiliar scenery....otherwise he'll think he only has to mind at home.

Oops!! Lynn, I forgot to mention something! Another way to get DJ to hurry up and come, especially when without a leash, is to turn around and run from him a short ways. It's *chase* (his game) and he'll come!
Thanks so much for your detailed and informative advice! We will certainly do it with him, and post a progress report! It sounds like you know what you are doing! Hope we can do our part! TTYL! Lynn and Family
Thanks from the "mom" of an older maltese who refuses to come when I call her! Shelby is 3 years old but I don't believe she was ever trained in this area (I got her when she was 2 1/2). and I haven't successfully trained her to come. I really wasn't sure how to do so. We'll get started on your method right away!

My other maltese girl, Nikki (who is deaf) comes immediately when we stomp our feet on the ground (which gets her attention - she feels the vibration) and motion for her to come. I forget sometimes and do the same signing with Shelby but she doesn't move. Just looks at me like "Get Real!!!" Thanks again!
Sandy (Shelby & Nikki)

Lynn: Thank you for your informative response. I will definitely try your method, as I am having a hard time with my Lucca who is now 10 months. And a word of advice to all new puppy owners. DO NOT REINFORCE THE CHASE GAME!!! When we first got Lucca, I thought it was so cute how he would want to run all around the apartment. Besides, I thought it was great exercise for him. I am having a terrible time now teaching him to come, as he is always waiting for the chase game. I also feel bad because I can see that Lucca is disappointed that I won't play the game anymore, but I have to reverse this pattern. It is not fun to do, but I have to agree that teaching a dog to come is one of the most important things for us, as owners, to do. I was outside with Lucca the other week and I lost my grip on his leash. Lucca was out in the street in a flash with me running after him yelling for him to stop and come. I could just see him thinking, "Yeah, the chase game!" as I scrambled to catch him. Well, I did catch him and, luckily, it was a quiet street. That was only a warning. We will work on this every night until we get it right. Thanks for your help, Lynn.
Joan, you're right about not reinforcing the chase game; however, you can play that game to your advantage by having him be "IT." Turn the tables and run from him, calling him and see what happens! Praise him lots!

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