A great way to work on the come cue at home, is playing a game that is fun for the whole family. The game is called Puppy Ping-Pong. I learned this fun game through the Animal Behavior College Dog Obedience Program! All you need to play this game is, three or more people, a safe area, and some yummy food treats. Not to mention your pup!
Get your puppy ready for some fun training with the whole family. To begin have everyone spread out in a circle in your secure room. Make sure you puppy is hungry and full of energy.
How To Play Puppy Ping-Pong
Place your puppy in the middle of the safe family circle. One person will begin to encourage the puppy to approach him or her, 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. 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, the puppy will begin pinging back and forth to all of the family members.
Timing Is Important
Make sure to help your younger children with the timing of rewarding and praising the puppy so that everyone is setting the dog up to succeed.
Make sure to only reward the puppy with one treat as he will 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
As a professional dog trainer we teach the “come” cue on-leash in group classes. However, most people will need their dog to come on cue when off leash. This 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 will ensure your dog responds appropriately in all situations. When working on the “come” cue it is very important to keep things very positive to ensure your puppy always wants to approach you.