Teaching “Come” With Puppy Ping-Pong
A great way to work on the “come” cue at home is to play a game that’s fun for the whole family. The game is called Puppy Ping-Pong taught at dog trainer school Animal Behavior College. All you’ll need to play this game is three or more people, a safe area, and some yummy food treats. Not to mention your dog!
Get your puppy ready for some fun training with the whole family. To begin, have everyone spread out in a circle in the room. Make sure the room is secured, and your pup is hungry and full of energy.
How to Play Puppy Ping-Pong
Get Your Puppy’s Attention
Place your puppy in the middle of the family circle. One person will begin to encourage the puppy to approach him by making kiss noises and saying the puppy’s name.
Be sure not to use the word “come” while encouraging the puppy to approach you. If you use the “come” cue before the puppy is right in front of you, he may not complete the behavior. This teaches your puppy that the cue has no meaning and a reward is not forthcoming.
Add the Cue and Treat
Once your puppy has arrived in front of you, say “come” followed by the word “good” and a treat. Now, have a person on the opposite side of the circle do the same thing. Once you and your puppy get the hang of this new game, your puppy will begin pinging back and forth to all of the family members.
Reward Only Once
Make sure to help your younger children when it comes to rewarding and praising the puppy so that everyone is setting the dog up to succeed.
Only reward the puppy with one treat, as he’ll be getting several from all of the family members playing the game. You can also incorporate physical praise to get the puppy used to being touched. Always remember to use the “come” cue once the puppy has already given the appropriate behavior and not before.
Start With On-Leash Training
Professional dog trainers teach the “come” cue on-leash in group classes. However, most people will need their dogs to come on cue when off leash. Puppy Ping-Pong is a great way to begin off leash work in a controlled environment.
You want to work on dog training as often as possible in real life situations, such as your home and backyard. This ensures your dog responds appropriately in all situations. When working on the “come” cue, it’s very important to keep things very positive to ensure your puppy always wants to approach you.
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