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How to Teach Your Dog to Come When Called, Even in Distracting Environments

Posted on June 30th, 2023

Having a dog that responds reliably to the “come” command is essential for their safety and your peace of mind, especially in distracting environments. Teaching your dog to come when called in any situation can be difficult, but it is achievable with the right approach. Here are five tips to help you effectively train your dog and achieve success.

#1: Start with Basic Training

Before tackling the challenge of distractions, ensure that your dog has a solid foundation in basic obedience training. Teach commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down” in a controlled environment. This establishes a level of communication and trust between you and your dog, making it easier to progress to more advanced commands like “come.”

#2: Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool when training your dog. Rewarding desired behaviors with treats, praise, or playtime will motivate them to repeat those behaviors. When teaching your dog to come when called, use high-value rewards such as their favorite treats or a special toy. 

Make sure to reward your dog immediately and enthusiastically when they respond to your “come” command, reinforcing the association between the command and the reward. Avoid punishment or scolding when they don’t respond immediately, as this can create fear or confusion.

#3: Gradually Increase Distractions

Once your dog understands the basic concept of coming when called, gradually introduce distractions. Start in a relatively quiet environment and gradually move to more challenging ones. This could involve practicing in a fenced yard, then progressing to a nearby park, and eventually to busier areas with more distractions. The key is to expose your dog to distractions incrementally, allowing them to build up their focus and responsiveness over time.

#4: Start with Short Distances First

When practicing “come” commands, start by calling your dog from short distances and gradually increase the distance over time. Begin with a few steps away, and as they become more reliable, gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. This gradual progression builds their understanding and confidence in responding to the command and helps protect their safety when practicing in public.

#5: Practice Recalls in Different Scenarios

To ensure that your dog’s recall is reliable in various scenarios, practice the command in different contexts. Call your dog from different positions, such as standing, sitting, or lying down. Practice recalls when your dog is engaged in different activities, like playing or sniffing. By practicing in diverse situations, you teach your dog that the “come” command applies regardless of the circumstances.

What to Do If You Are Bitten by Someone Else’s Dog

While we focus on training our own dogs to behave appropriately, there may be instances when we encounter a dog that bites or behaves aggressively. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you deserve justice—and a Washington dog bite attorney can help.

In Washington, dog owners are liable for any bite injuries inflicted by their animals. As a dog bite victim, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the owner and recover compensation for the damages that you have experienced.

A dog bite lawyer can represent your claim and hold the owner accountable for the animal’s dangerous actions. After seeking medical care for the bite, contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal options and take your first steps toward justice.