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'Come' is one of the first commands any dog should be taught. It is considered one of the four commands every dog, no matter the breed, should know before you try to teach them any other tricks. It is one of most important commands you can teach your dog. Being able to come on command could stop your dog from running out in the traffic and getting hit by a car.
Teaching your pup to come when you call him can be a bit more challenging than many other commands. It is more in your pup's nature to want to run and play, chase down scents, and generally have a good time than it is to come back to you just because you are calling him. While it might take you a little extra time, be patient and before you know it, your pup will come running whenever you call his name.
You can never start training your Chihuahua too early or teach him new tricks too late. But, when it comes to the four basic commands, the earlier you start working with your pup, the faster he will learn. While learning this command is of the utmost importance, you can also be working on the other three: 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'.
The desired end result of this training is for your dog to instantly stop what he is doing and come directly to you when you call his name and add the command word like, "Weenie, come!" Obeying you could save your pup's life, but you need to make sure he associates the command with something fun or tasty.
Since 'come' is one of the earliest commands your pup will be learning, the only prerequisite is that he is old enough to wear a collar and leash. The rest is all up to how much time and effort you are willing to put into training your pup. Chihuahuas are extremely intelligent dogs and are always willing to please. For this training you will need a few supplies:
- Collar: A comfortable soft collar--you should never need to use any type of "training collar" on your pup.
- Leash: A standard walking leash, do not use a retractable leash for training purposes.
- Assistant: Training your pup to come may be easier with a little help.
- Treats: You need to have a healthy supply of these to use as rewards.
- Time: Work in several short training sessions per day over the course of a few weeks. Long sessions only make the training harder.
- Patience: Working with a pup to train him a new command takes plenty of patience.
Training a puppy new skills and commands requires a ton of patience. And remember your pup will respond far better to positive reinforcement. You should never scold or punish your pup for getting it wrong, this will only make him harder to train.
The Run Away Method
Grab your helper
Start out by having your helper hang on to your pup.
As you back away from your pup, entice him with a treat and get him so excited that he is literally straining on his leash to get to you.
Call him to come to you
Now turn and start running away, while calling out "Come, Weenie!" in an excited voice. Your assistant should release him.
Let him catch up to you
Let your pup catch up with you and when he does, give him plenty of praise and treats.
Practice without the assistant
Once he will do this, you can try it without the leash or the assistant. Let him wander around the backyard, calling him to come to you. Each time he does, be sure to give him lots of praise and treats. It may take a while, but your pup will eventually catch on and come to you every time you call him.
The Sit-Stay Method
The starting position
For this one, your pup will need to have mastered 'sit' and 'stay'. Give your pup the 'sit' and 'stay' commands.
Back slowly away from your pup, making him stay put.
Hold out a treat
Hold a treat out in front of you and call your Chihuahua to come to you, saying "Come, Weenie." When he comes to you, give him plenty of praise and a treat.
Repeat the process
Keep practicing this until he will come to you when called.
Grab your kids or, if they are not available, some of the local kids to play in your yard and have them make a little noise. Practice the 'come' command with him, using a treat as a reward for getting it right. It shouldn't take long for your pup to learn to ignore the noise and come to you no matter what.
The Squat Down Method
Work indoors first
Start working indoors or in a fenced backyard. This way there are as few distractions as possible.
Hold him still
Have your assistant hold your pup by his collar and back away from your pup a few feet.
Show your dog a treat in your hand and squat down with your arms open wide in a "welcoming" gesture and call your pup, "Come, Weenie!"
When he moves
As our pup starts coming towards you give him lots of praise along the way: "good boy" and "way to go Weenie!". If you notice his attention starting to wander, stop praising him immediately. As soon as he starts coming your way, go ahead and resume the praise.
When he arrives
When your pup finally arrives, be sure to heap on the praise and give him plenty of treats.
Keep repeating the training
The rest is all about repeating the training several times a day until he will come every time you call his name. Slowly wean your pup off the treats, but never be afraid to offer him lots of praise for getting it right.
By PB Getz
Published: 12/22/2017, edited: 01/08/2021