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1) I think the younger the dog is when the training starts, the better. Play the puppy, puppy, puppy game when the pup is young and loves to follow you: You have pups attention and as you take little bitsy running steps backing away from pup, say "puppy, puppy, puppy". They all seem to love this and go after you, so you slow down and stop and there you have it: the dog has *come* to you! Give lavish praise and/or gentle petting and/or a food treat. Practice often with short little sessions and keep it happy. Reward your dog for looking at you (ie: giving you attention).

2) Make yourself the best thing in the world for your dog (the one who has treats, praise, ear scratches, belly rubs for coming)

3) Never scold your dog for coming. Go and get the dog and without saying anything, go to a quiet area where you can then play the come when called game. Dog is on lead, 2 or more people sit on the ground, with treats or toys on hand. One holds pup, other calls, and has the leash to gently *reel* the dog in if dog doesn't come when called. Once dog reaches the person who called, dog gets incredible praise and a yummie treat like cheese, or a small piece of steak, or hot dog, or a favorite toy. Then the other person has leash and calls, and treats/praises the dog for coming, and so on. Over time, progress to working off leash in a controlled, safe area, and then to a safe area with distractions, with the people standing farther and farther apart. For dogs who seem to not pay attention, you can try running _away_ from the dog, while calling. They eventually will go find Mom or Dad, and then you still praise them. Of course, you want to practice in safe areas!

And a little beyond come when called:

4) Have an emergency plan (and don't over practice it), for calling your dog in a dangerous situation, like the dog has gotten off leash and is going into the path of a car: Fall on the ground, and act like you have found something very special, saying: "Bernie, lookie what I have, it's a rabbit/kitty/squirrel" Or say the name of a very special person in the dog's life. Our dogs get very excited and attentive when I say "Where is Rod/Carol/Cody/Trace/etc All are special people/dogs to our dogs.


A surge in Will to Power is often described as increased stubbornness by some owners. These surges commonly occur in pups between 4-5, 6-7 and around 9 months of age. To counter that surge, developing the dog's Will to Serve by increasing the opportunities he has to work willingly and by choice will render the ultimate result you want....a reliable dog who is willing to work.

Here are some things I'm working on with Guy now

*Increasing the amount of time I spent with him on leash doing fun things.

*Calling Guy to me as I move away from him quickly and rewarding him with a BIG treat when he arrives.

*Puting Guy on leash when he comes to me before he gets his BIG TREAT. I do another "come" exercise on leash quickly and then release him as I lavish the praise on him. This teaches him that coming to me and the going on leash does not always mean the end of FREE time!

*Introducing new tricks...challenging his mind to learn something new...to tune into ME because I'm fun.

"Coming when called" is an exercise which requires practice in situations optimal for success. A common stumbling block is when the handler JUST works on it in situations where the dog is unsuccessful habitually. Making the "come" exercise fun and frequent is the key to reliability in this exercise