How to Train Your Chow Chow Dog to Come

Medium
4-8 Weeks
General

Introduction

Chow Chow dogs have an independent nature. They want to be trusted and need to feel like they are their own decision makers. But if your Chow Chow can’t be trusted to come when you call him, he will not be able to have the independence he desires. You cannot be at the dog park or outside off-leash and not know if your Chow Chow will come to you when you ask him to. A dog who does not understand and follow this command can be at risk of injury or hurting another dog. 

Whether you are training him to come to you when called while outside to keep him safe or training him to come when you call him while around the house, training your dog to come when called helps to set expectations. Once he’s trained to come, your Chow Chow will know when he hears the command or his name it’s worth coming to you. 

Defining Tasks

Training your Chow Chow to come will require dedication and patience. Remember, this is a dog who is independent and will want to be making his own choices. You’ll need to give him a good reason to make the right choice--to come when called. A younger Chow Chow will require short training sessions with high rewards, and an older Chow Chow who already knows what independence looks like will need more time training, more patience from you, and rewards that will entice him to use his manners and listen and obey. This will be repetitive training and will require commitment from you. It might feel as if your Chow Chow gets this command and then reverts back to not listening to you. Do not give up at this point. Stay strong and keep training. Your Chow Chow will push his boundaries, so be prepared.

Getting Started

High-value treats will be important for getting your Chow Chow to come to you. You can work with toys as well training your Chow Chow to fetch and come back to you, bringing the toy along as well. Keep your training sessions no longer than fifteen minutes each, though you can do them several times a day. Make sure during training your Chow Chow is engaged. 

The Early Training Method

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Step
1
Puppy
When you are training your Chow Chow puppy, keep him close to you. This will teach your puppy you are his caregiver, building that bond and trust between the two of you.
Step
2
Playtime
During playtime with your pup, practice having him come to you by enticing him with a toy he loves to play with. Keep the distance between the two of you small so he is not distracted by something else, and during training times always train in a small, safe place such as your backyard or a quiet area of a park or even inside your home.
Step
3
Play with two toys
Toss one toy a few feet away from you while you and your Chow Chow are playing, expecting him to go get the toy.
Step
4
Call back
Call your pup by name and then use the word 'come' and show him the second toy you have in your hand. Because you are spending quality play time together and he's excited to play, he should want to come explore the toy you have. You can also do this with treats if he is not interested in a toy.
Step
5
Come
When your Chow Chow comes to you after you have called him back, give him a treat and lots of verbal praise to celebrate his return to you after you've asked him to come.
Step
6
Repeat and practice
Repeat these high energy moments with toys and treats, encouraging your Chow Chow puppy to come back to you every time you say his name and the command 'come' together. Practice increasing the distance between you and your Chow Chow and asking him to return to you using the command to come.
Step
7
Reward
Remember to always reward your Chow Chow when he returns to your side after giving the command to come.
Step
8
Command
Once he understands by repetition the command and your expectations, use the same command every time you expect him to come back to you, whether he is on a leash in your kitchen or out in your backyard.
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The Recall Method

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Step
1
Choose a command
Choose a recall command you will use with your Chow Chow. This could be your dog's name or it could be the word 'come' or 'here.' Whichever command you choose to use to recall your Chow Chow, be sure you are consistent and use the same one on a regular basis.
Step
2
Schedule training
Set aside some time with your Chow Chow specifically to work on recalling him. This needs to be quiet distraction-free training time so your Chow Chow can focus on you and the mission of coming back to you when called.
Step
3
Recall
Begin playing with your Chow Chow. You can play tug-of-war with a rope or toss with a tennis ball. Practice calling him back to you using the command you chose.
Step
4
Entice
You want to give reason for your Chow Chow to return to you when you are using the recall command. You should only say the command word once, even if this is his name. Saying the recall command more than once will train your dog he has to hear it more than once before he bothers to come back to you. To get him to want to come, you need to entice him by showing him you have something special he wants to get.
Step
5
Ignore
If your Chow Chow decides to ignore you, take a break and a few deep breaths then go over to him for some more play time. Do not repeat the recall command if he does not give you his attention.
Step
6
Try again
During your play time together, let your Chow Chow see the treat you have but don't give it to him. Take a few steps away from him and try to recall him using your command again. This time, if he isn’t interested, let him see the treat you have and then drop it at your feet.
Step
7
Practice
Keep practicing recalling and rewarding your dog when he comes back to you. Remember to keep his reward high and do not go too far from him while training to recall. As he comes to you more and more, increase your distance from him.
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The Hand Signal Method

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Step
1
Leash
Put your Chow Chow on a leash and stand close to him.
Step
2
Treat
Start your training off with a treat. As soon as you get him secured on a leash, give him a treat just for tolerating the leash without going for a walk.
Step
3
Step forward
Take a few steps away from your dog and then stop.
Step
4
Hand signal
Drop your hand to your side and hold it out palm flat, facing your dog. Use your dog's name and the command word "come". Because he's not very far from you, it should only be a few steps to get to you. If he does not move, have a treat ready in the hand that's holding the leash and show it to him.
Step
5
Come
When your Chow Chow takes a step towards you, give him the treat.
Step
6
Repeat
Practice this several times, taking several steps away from your dog and repeating the hand signal with your hand down, palm flat facing out toward him and using the word ‘come’ as a command.
Step
7
Increase distance
As your Chow Chow gets to know this hand signal and the command word 'come', as well as the reward when he comes back to you, increase the distance between you and your dog.
Step
8
Off-leash
Take your Chow Chow somewhere he can be off leash or in your backyard where he cannot run too far from you. Practice the steps above, using the command word and the hand signal, expecting your dog to drop what he's doing and come towards you. Remember to entice him and reward him with a treat.
Step
9
Keep it up
This connection your Chow Chow needs to make between the command word, the hand signal, the action, and the treat may take some time. Practice often but in short sessions, keeping your dog engaged and constantly rewarding him for doing a good job and giving you his attention.
Step
10
Add distractions
After a few weeks of consistent training, add some distractions. The command 'come' is really important when you are out and about with your dog, when his attention is on something else, or when your dog is off-leash and needs to obey you and be by your side. Offering distractions will remind him that his attention maybe grabbed elsewhere but he still needs to obey you when you call him.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Skywalker
Chow Chow
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Skywalker
Chow Chow
2 Months

Hello!
I recently got Sky and he is quite small and energetic. He was kept in a cage before and we have a very big house and a big garden so he is quite wary of his surroundings (we only got him a week ago). I want to start training him immediately but I do not know how affective it will be. How can I get him to open up to me and to people?

Thanks!
Mina

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mina, Start by feeding him all of his dry dog food as treats rather than in his bowl. Spend time teaching him very easy commands like sit, his name, and touch using the "Lure" method, what is called "Lure Reward Training". That type of training is very gentle and easy for puppies. Use his kibble food to do this. Also, place his kibble around areas and leading up to areas that he is afraid of. Make the house a fun treat treasure hunt in the specific areas that he is afraid of. For example, if he is afraid of a low window, then place a line of treats on the window sill and replace those treats for him to find again later after he eats them. Do this until he is no longer afraid of that window. If he is afraid to go into a particular room, then create a line of treats going into that room and go into the room and act like you are having a good time or relaxing until she over time chooses to join in. It's okay if it takes his a few days to work up the courage to do something totally new. Continue to make that thing fun with treats and your own happiness, and praise him for his courage when he tries. You can also clip him to yourself with a six-foot leash once you have spent time getting him used to the sensation of the leash. This can help him learn to stick with you, help you keep an eye on him, and bond. Spend time getting him used to going into new rooms before he has to follow you there though, so that he will not be afraid to enter that room. Every time you stop and sit, be sure to give him a chew toy, like a Medium or large sized Kong, stuffed with his dog food that has been soaked in water and stuffed into the Kong. You can also freeze these Kongs to make the treat last longer, provide teething relief, and decrease mess. You can add a little bit of peanut butter, cheese, or liver paste to the Kong food mush also. Make sure that the Peanut Butter does NOT contain Xylitol though. Xylitol is very toxic to dogs. Also, When you introduce him to new things act confident and excited yourself, not worried and sympathetic. Your excitement will help him learn that that object or place is fun and not scary. Once he is a little more comfortable, then also get him used to being touched and handled by gently touching an area of his body, like his ear, while you give him a treat every time. Practice these touches and rewards all over his body regularly for at least the next six months. Once he is used to your home and you a bit more, start bringing him to new places with you and introducing him to new people and places. Do this by carrying him anywhere where other dogs could have walked until he has all of his puppy shots. Viruses like Parvo are transmitted through contact with the ground where other dogs have eliminated or direct contact, so carrying your puppy can allow you to take him more places with you while he is young and at a crucial socialization age. Since he spend the first two months without a lot of exposure and may have a shy personality, this is especially important for him. Take treats with you when you go places and have other people feed him the treats when they greet him. Also, reward him and act happy whenever he comes across something new, especially when he is uncertain about the new thing. This will show him that the new thing is safe and even fun. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Poppy
Chow Chow
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Poppy
Chow Chow
2 Years

Hi,
I adopted a two year old Chow two weeks ago who has previously had no training or play time.

I am struggling with basic training techniques having watched videos online, also she seems to have no interest in play time though I’m unsure if it’s just her chow nature or she doesn’t know how to play.

I’d appreciate any guidance you can provide.

Thank you

Jonny

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
78 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jonathan, Chows do tend to be independent, serious, and almost cat like. It is likely that her natural personality is just not that interested in play. She might have been able to learn how to do it a bit more as a puppy if she had been raised with you early on, but it would have been something she would have had to learn more than certain other breeds, and less something that she always wants to do on her own now that she is an adult. Chows do get very attached to their owners but it is typically in a more loyal, serious, hang out with you, and watch over you type of way instead of affectionate, cuddly, and more interactive. They can be very catlike in personality, but with a dog's loyalty. You might be able to teach her to play by making it a job for her and training her to perform an activity and then reward her for it. For example, you might be able to teach her to fetch if she gets a reward, like a treat, for bringing the ball back to you. Overtime she might learn to enjoy the game without the treats too. By rewarding her with something else that she does like, you can connect that game or activity to the reward, teaching her to like the game also eventually, because she associates the game with something she considers pleasant, the treat and how the treat makes her feel. You can also train her to play hide and seek by making it a job of finding you and then being rewarded for it, opposed to wanting to find you just for the fun of it. It's essentially training her to play. The more games you teach her, the more likely she is to learn new games more easily. When training a Chow it is important for that dog to respect you. Because Chows are less naturally willing to please for the emotional gratification of it, unlike a Golden Retriever, your dog is more likely to work for you if she views you as worthy of her respect. Chows are very loyal typically. Be very consistent with your rules and boundaries with her. Be patient and kind still, but when you tell her to do something calmly and firmly insist that she does it, even it that means standing there for several minutes without letting her leave until she obeys, or bringing her over to yourself and walking her through obeying by showing her how again. If you are trying to lure her into training positions, like sit, with food and she is not complying, then you might need to switch to a training method that depends less on motivating her with fun and more on gaining her respect mentally. For example, when teaching "Come" try using the "Reel" in method instead of one of the methods based on games in the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Choose methods like the "Reel In" method when teaching her other commands too. Methods that show her what to do and gently but firmly ensure that she obeys, rather than methods based on fun and games if she does not respond well to fun and games methods well. She might appreciate a more serious and practical approach if she does not enjoy playing. If she responds well to treats, then choose methods that utilize treats to teach her, but also be consistent with her and when you give her a command that she knows, if she chooses not to do it and not get the treat, make sure that she still obeys, whether she wants the treat or not. Be more stubborn than she is. She should learn that if she obeys, something pleasant like a treat will happen, but if she does not want a treat, she still has to obey anyways. Every dog is a bit different though, so if you find that your dog does not act like a typical Chow and more playful methods do work once she warms up to her new situation with you, then by all means use those methods still. If they don't tend to work, then consider a more practical method that shows her what to do, rewards her for obeying, and is a bit more serious. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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