Part II Your companion should release the collar as you use the command and your dog should come running over to you. Give him his treat immediately and praise him so he knows he has pleased you. Repeat the exercise many times, increasing the distance between you and your dog and even going out of his line of sight. He will soon learn the exercise and associate “come” with a nice treat and praise. Next, you should take your dog outside to a quiet location. Your companion must hold your dog on it’s leash and run over to you with the dog when you give the “come” command. Soon, the dog will be responding well to the command and remembering the positive reinforcement of the treat and praise, and it will be time to use the command with the dog off the leash in a safe environment. Remember to always use positive reinforcement for this exercise – don’t chastise your dog if he gets it wrong as he will not understand. Neither should you call your dog to you to tell him off or to do something he dislikes, like putting his leash back on or putting him in the shower! If you want to get him back on the leash, you can trick him by calling him to you, playing a little game where he stays close to you, then putting his leash on, so he doesn’t associate the command with something negative. Some dogs don’t see the leash as negative and therefore you can just call him as normal and give him a treat or praise him.

As with all training exercises, the key to success is repetition, patience, consistency and positive association. Your dog will be a happier, healthier, safer dog for accomplishing this simple task in a variety of environments with differing degrees of distraction until it is an automatic response.