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Dog Tip: Using Natural Behaviors to Teach Dogs to Come

The following tips come from "Dogs On The Couch" by Larry Lachman. In his practice, Lachman treats both humans and animals. He has adapted his Structural Family Therapy to treating abused pets, couples in marital therapy as well as family pets. The approach involves the entire family and the way member relate to each other.

Lachman advises to get in the habit of calling your dog to come for food, to play, to come in, to go for a ride and other positive activities.

Here are four natural behaviors you can use to help teach the come command:
* Be in motion with the dog to provide an alluring target to chase.
* Make unique, friendly and alluring sounds to trigger and maintain the dog's attention.
* Do not pull or yank the dog's leash when practicing.
* When the dog begins to come toward you, drop down or squat and extend your hand holding an appealing treat.

For the first 2 weeks, reward the dog for merely coming. Do not add the sit command until week 3 of practice.

Four things NOT to do:
* Do not call your dog to come for punishment.
* Do not call your dog to come for grooming or medical procedures.
* Do not call your dog to come so you can isolate him somewhere he does not want to be.
* Do not call your dog to come from the shade into the sun, especially on hot days.

If you have have to get your dog from point A to point B for a potentially traumatic situation, have him sit, give him a treat, attach his leash and walk him or heel him there.

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Last Updated: June 23, 2013 (LET) PawSupport