Fun, Effective Technique To Get Your Dog To Come … The Rocket Launch!

I want to tell you about something that is extremely important, something that could literally save your dog’s life one day … and something that is easier than cooking Popcorn!

What is it you ask? It’s teaching your dog to come after hearing his name. But you’d be surprised to know that most dogs have never been conditioned to respond to their name. Most people simply assume their dog know their name because “we” as humans do.

This exercise is great for teaching your dog to come to you after hearing his name. I remember teaching this to a friend a little while ago, and in a weekend their dog would come running to them like had just been selected on the “Price is Right”.

She did the exercise with her son. They would call their dog’s name and give a treat after he came to them. That’s it. But then they built upon the exercise, started creating distance between each other until they were in separate rooms. Then they even practiced on two different levels of the house – meaning one of them was upstairs and the other downstairs.

So if they could teach their dog to respond to his name in one weekend, surely you can too!

Make sure that you give your dog something that he values when he comes to you, most dog loves food but it could be other things like playing, petting and giving attention.

BUT I MUST WARN YOU …

Your dog’s name will become a conditioned cue to get your dog to come to you, meaning that if you use it uselessly around the house without giving your dog a reward, it will lose its effectiveness.

If you say “FIDO, GET OFF THE COUCH!” or “FIDO, DOWN!” or “FIDO, GO GET YOUR TOY” then the word “Fido” does not mean to come to you anymore, and you are using it to get your dog’s attention.

So what is the solution? There are three options:

  1. Do not use your dog’s name unless you want your dog coming to you.
  2. Train your dog to the command “COME” instead of his name.
  3. Use a nickname whenever you don’t want your dog to formally come to you..

Personally, I practice all three solutions with my dogs. I don’t use their names unless I want them to come to me, and they’re also conditioned to respond to the “COME” command, and I use little nicknames around the house for them.

Go ahead, give it a try with your dog! Seriously … just do it, it will work!

Power Quote: “Teaching your dog basic obedience skills is your responsibility as a dog owner, but teaching them can be lots of fun if you use Positive Reinforcements.” – Jean Cote

About The Author

Jean Cote

Jean Cote is an animal lover, dog trainer, and founder of Success Dogs. He takes pride in his ability to help dog owners improve their relationship with their dogs, and stop the frustrating things that so often make the early years of dog ownership more frustrating than enjoyable.

17 Comments

  • Tegan

    Reply Reply July 10, 2014

    I vote for the nickname solution! Clover is called so many things around the house, but “Clover” is for coming!

  • Lynn

    Reply Reply July 10, 2014

    I use their name to get their attention and use the command “come” or “here” or sometimes point to the ground near my feet. All works well. The attention getting is good because sometimes I want them to do something other than come to me. Ie. like going across the road or just to look at me if I am at a distance. Make sense:)

    • Jean Cote

      Jean Cote

      Reply Reply July 10, 2014

      That makes perfect sense Lynn, thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Anetta

    Reply Reply July 10, 2014

    I thought this was a training on how to teach the dog to come…as this is one of my biggest struggles because I have a very stubborn dog who choses not to come when called and run in the opposite direction.

    • Jean Cote

      Jean Cote

      Reply Reply July 10, 2014

      Hi Anetta,

      Thank you for your comment. These dog training tips are meant to be single bits of knowledge that you can implement in your training – not entire training programs. But this one single technique is very effective if you use it strategically – in an environment where your dog will respond.

      The reason why you want to run away from your dog is for two reasons. First, you want to trigger your dog’s chasing instinct and get him in the habit of running to you as fast as possible. Second, you want to mix things up and not be totally predictable. If you only present one type of reinforcement, ie, a treat for getting your dog to come – then it’s very easy for your dog to evaluate whether coming to you is worth it or not.

      But if you have many different ways of reinforcing your dog, like running away, playing, tugging, Frisbee, a special treat, a bone, etc… Then your dog will never truly know what’s in store and he will be much more enthusiastic to coming to you.

  • Lynn

    Reply Reply July 10, 2014

    Jean, just wanted to tell you that I really love all the emails and training videos that I have received from you over the past year. This has helped me tremendously. You have gotten me more focused in a time I was dragging my feet! I love seeing what my dogs will do next.
    Happy training
    Lynn

    • Jean Cote

      Jean Cote

      Reply Reply July 10, 2014

      Thanks Lynn, it’s always a pleasure to be of service to my fellow dog owners. 🙂 But keep an eye out in your inbox for a new program coming out in the next few weeks, I think you will love it.

  • Laura

    Reply Reply July 11, 2014

    Hi jean

    I’m having trouble with getting my dog to “come” when there are other dogs around. He is great at home and the park when there are no dogs. I am using positive reinforcement. If he sees another dog he will just take off and chase them, no matter where they are, it gets dangerous so I cannot take him off the lead as he will just not come at all and can run across the road if he sees another dog. Sometimes he comes but doesn’t let me touch him to put the lead back on, he ducks out of reach, seems to think it’s a game. Help!!

    • Jean Cote

      Jean Cote

      Reply Reply July 11, 2014

      Hi Laura. Two issues in your comment, first you need to play the “Collar Grab” training game. I show a video inside the Walk in Harmony training program – but basically you want to grab your dog’s collar then give a treat. This will get your dog to like it when you grab his collar. You’d want to do this every single time you call your dog to you for the next little while.

      Second issue is your dog sees other dogs and chasing them as more rewarding than coming to you. There are several things you can do but the easiest one being controlling distance between you and that other dog. You need to start building this skill with baby steps, and there will be a point where the other dog is far enough that he will respond to you. You will have to experiment to figure out that distance. It would help if you had a friend with another dog in a large park and test this out. As you practice you will be able to slowly reduce that distance.

      I could probably make an entire new program just on training a dog to come… 🙂

    • Jean Cote

      Jean Cote

      Reply Reply July 16, 2014

      Hi Laura,

      In case you haven’t noticed, I published the collar grab game video here: http://www.successdogs.com/dog-training-lessons/collar-grab-game/

  • Sue Beardslee

    Reply Reply July 11, 2014

    Rena is good at coming on command (Rena! Come!) – most of the time. But when she scents a rabbit in the forest, she goes deaf! I am afraid of her getting lost more than anything.
    Marty sometimes comes on command and sometimes acts just like a naughty child, dancing just out of reach and grinning as much as a 2.3kilo Min Pin can grin. He’s 18 months old.

  • Lisa

    Reply Reply July 12, 2014

    Hi Jean – The problem I have is getting my dog to come back to me when we are playing Fetch, he thinks it is a bigger game to run around all over the place rather than bring the toy/ball/retrieving bumper back, I have started the Collar a Grab game with him and short recalls, Nit sure if you may be able to provide any advice with the fetch/ retrieve – Thanks

    • Jean Cote

      Jean Cote

      Reply Reply July 12, 2014

      You might want to start playing retrieve with a tug toy. When your dog brings the tug toy back to you, play some engaging tugging with him. This will build value for your dog to bring back the object to you. If your dog decides to leave you and run around, then end the game and leave the room/environment. This will create another incentive for your dog to play since the alternative ends everything.

  • Helen Thompson

    Reply Reply September 3, 2014

    Hi Jean, I am finding your tips and videos very interesting and they are helping me find ways to keep our 2 year old Lab/Rottie cross busy. He is quick to learn around the house but when outside he refuses to come back. We can do recall inside as you suggested but once outside he just runs and runs. We have even tried teaching him to a sports whistle – which we know he can hear across a field or park but still he plays deaf. I am disabled so cannot run after him so going out is a nightmare. Can you tell me where I am going wrong please?

    • Jean Cote

      Jean Cote

      Reply Reply September 3, 2014

      Hi Helen, you need to limit the amount of “space” he has to run outside. Start with a secluded backyard and gradually increase the amount of space your dog has to run. Of course, only increase when your dog is being successful at coming to you with the whistle.

  • Linda Guy

    Reply Reply January 3, 2016

    Hi Jean!
    My two Boston Terriers ages 11 and 14 years went to the Rainbow Bridge 7 weeks apart. I was so depressed that a dear friend bought me a Boston puppy for Christmas! Elli is 9 weeks old tomorrow! House training is almost done with only a couple of mistakes in cold weather including doing the duties on command. Coming when called is coming along when she realizes I’ve said her name then ‘come’. She runs like the wind to me then.
    My problem with her is biting, (she has tons of chew toys) but loves my shoes, pant legs and anything else she can bite including me. I know as a puppy she had all her litter mates to fight with as she was the runt of the litter, and that she will grow out of that as she learns I don’t bite back. Lol
    But I want to teach her how you have your dogs sit by your side until you say ‘break’. How old should she be before I start that training and do you have a course for it?

    Thanks,
    Linda

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