How to Train Your Border Collie Dog to Come When Called

Medium
5-10 Days
General

Introduction

Border Collies are the rocket scientists of the dog world! They are considered to be among the smartest and most trainable of dogs, which should make training them to “come” easy, right? Maybe... unless they outsmart you!  

The reason they are so trainable is that Border Collies have been developed to learn complex commands and behaviors required for herding livestock. They tend to be excited about their work and they are very high-energy, another trait required for their work. However, the chasing and herding motivation, along with their high energy, can result in them being reticent about coming when called. The 'come' command is one of the most important for your dog's safety, especially your active Border Collie, to keep him out of danger that could result from running away, out on a road, or chasing livestock when he is not supposed to. 

The good news is, your Border Collie is very oriented to be part of a team with you, so training him to come can be a matter of developing that team mentality and making coming to you a great experience that your dog wants to do. Border Collies want to work and they want to please their team members. Training them to be obedient to commands like 'come' is a matter of tapping into that natural inclination. So don't let your Border Collie outsmart you, be the team leader!

Defining Tasks

Because of their natural intelligence and energy, training a Border Collie to come when called is more successful if established from a young age. If an older dog has developed bad habits, they can be a challenge to reshape. Successful Border Collie trainers find they need to address the dog's working instinct and high energy level and tap into them for success. 

Making coming when called part of a fun game by playing hide and seek, stimulating your Border Collie's mind and making coming to you a treat, will ensure success. Never punish your Border Collie after he comes to you for a transgression, or follow it immediately with a negative consequence such as leaving the park. Instead, play with your dog before leaving, or give him a treat and attention when he comes. Border Collies also thrive on consistency; they are so smart that if you are inconsistent they will pick up on this and use it to their advantage. A lively, interested Border Collie exploring its world can be a challenge to get to come when called. Getting your dog's attention by cheerfully calling his name or by initiating a game like hide and seek or fetch works better than yelling or reprimanding him and then calling him. Punishing your Border Collie, will teach him that coming when called means he gets in trouble!

Getting Started

Start training your Border Collie to 'come' at home and in an enclosed area, in the house or a fenced yard, so that there is no danger of your dog running away and into trouble. Use favorite toys, balls and treats to reinforce desired behavior. A long lead line can also be useful for training your Border Collie to come when called. Remember, the operative word here is “fun”.  Teach your Border Collie that it is fun to come when called, more fun than whatever is out there in the world calling his name!

The Variable Rewards Method

Most Recommended
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Step
1
Call
Call your Border Collie's name and say “come” in an excited voice, while holding a high value smelly treat in your hand, like chicken or a hot dog.
Step
2
Reward 'come'
When your dog comes, give him the high value treat, praise, and affection--say, “yes”.
Step
3
Practice often
Continue, practicing calling your dog in various situations. Start in the house or yard, practice in the park or on walks.
Step
4
Vary treats
Vary treats used as a reward for coming when called. Use high-value treats like meat or cheese, dry kibble, toys, praise, and affection. Your dog may not always come for dry kibble, but he will come for the chance that this time's treat might be a hot dog!
Step
5
Avoid negatives
Avoid negative consequences for coming. Do not leave play areas immediately, reprimand your dog, or clip nails or any other thing your dog doesn't like immediately after calling your dog to come.
Recommend training method?

The Hide and Seek Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Hide and reward seek
Start playing hide and seek with your dog in the house. Hide behind a piece of furniture and call your dog to find you. When he investigates and discovers you, present a favorite toy and play.
Step
2
Move outside
Move the game outside where there are trees and other obstacles. If you do not have a safe enclosed area, you can start playing this game with your Border Collie on a long lead line, 25 to 50 feet long.
Step
3
Simple hiding
Ask your dog to sit and stay, then go hide. At first, let your dog see where you hide, call him to 'come'.
Step
4
Reward
When your dog comes to find you, reward with play or a treat.
Step
5
Make complex
Increase the complexity of the game, making harder hiding spots. Don't let your dog see where you hide; you can use an assistant to face him in the other direction. Then call your Border Collie to come find you. Remove the lead line and go off-leash. By making a game of coming when called, you make it a fun and positive experience.
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The Guide and Play Method

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Step
1
Teach 'come' in closed area
Teach your Border Collie to 'come' when called, in the house and in your yard, by calling him and providing a reward.
Step
2
Move outside on leash
Go outside with your dog on a long lead line. Call your dog to 'come'.
Step
3
Guide with line
If your Border Collie is distracted or does not come immediately, call his name to get his attention. Then guide him with a gentle tug on the lead line.
Step
4
Reinforce
Reward with treats, attention, and play for coming when called.
Step
5
Play
When recall is good, let your Border Collie off-leash. Call your dog's name and run in the opposite direction. Your Border Collie will run after you, it’s a game! Play often, and reward coming when called to continue to establish that coming when called is fun.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Laurie Haggart

Published: 12/26/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Koda
Border Collie Cocker
1 Year
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Question
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Koda
Border Collie Cocker
1 Year

My pup has issues coming to me when I call him. The first time he ran away and didn’t come back he got punished when coming to me finally and now won’t come to me again when there is a wide open space. How do I get his trust back so he will come to me?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
823 Dog owners recommended

Alyvia Marie, First, you probably know now that you cannot punish a dog when they come - even when they are being rotten. If you need to punish the disobedience go get them, rather than call him to you. Also, when they disobey, when you finally do get them back, ignore the fact that they disobeyed, but soon after clip a long leash on them and practice several similar recalls around the same type of distraction with the long leash on. Reward them when they come willingly, and reel them in and make them sit when they do not come, then release them again by saying "okay" to practice the come again. Practice this drill until you get five willing comes in a row from the dog...That exercise serves as a reminder that the dog should come, without discouraging them from wanting to come to you in the future due to punishment. You essentially re-establish respect through training and consistency, without adding in fear-which causes avoidance with come. Next, to deal with the current avoidance that has developed check out the article that I have linked below. Follow the "Recall" method which will force your dog to come to you using a long leash that you can reel him in with when he disobeys. I suggest you use a forty, possibly fifty-foot leash for it (regular long 40'-50' foot training leash and not a retractable leash!). When he comes, even if you have to force him by reeling him in, praise him and reward him with treats. Practice this until he starts coming willingly again. When he will come willingly, then give him treats and lots of praise for coming willingly, but only treats for coming willingly - do not discipline him when you have to reel him in though. Simply reel him in, praise him softly, make him sit, then release him by saying "Okay!" and practice it all again. When he gets really good at this, then only give treats when his come is better, such as faster, coming around a distraction, coming from further away, or coming and sitting right in front of you automatically. When he will come well again on the long leash, you can let the leash drag (if you are somewhere safe to do so) and practice this without holding the leash so he feels off-leash. If he disobeys your come command, go grab the leash and reel him in to where you originally called him from. When you get ready to practice this completely off-leash again, then practice this without it, but bring the long leash out occasionally to brush up his training whenever his come starts to get sloppy with time. Come article. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mac
Border Collie
2 Years
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Mac
Border Collie
2 Years

Max is a rescue dog that is 2 or so. He has not been worked with much and tends to do what he wants when he wants. Is he too old to change these habits?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
823 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kelly, It depends on the behaviors you are talking about, but in most cases it is not too late. Socialization needs to happen while a dog is young because it is related to mental maturity, so if done later it will be much harder and less progress than if a puppy. Obedience, tricks, and general manners can usually be taught at a later age with no problem if you are dedicated to working with him, teaching him, and being consistent about rules. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Tucker
Border Collie
11 Weeks
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Tucker
Border Collie
11 Weeks

Hello, Tucker is only young and is my first dog. I understand that as a pup he’s going to teeth and nip. He’s getting great at simple commands so I’m in high spirits that he’ll be easy to train. My issue is when I’m out in our garden, he tends to bite my shoes and the bottom of my trousers and I have tried telling him off, firm but fair kind of thing. Is there any other solutions that will help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
823 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ryan, Glad to hear he is doing well. The pant biting is extremely common at this age and most pups think its just a wonderful game -like a moving tug toy. When pup does it you have a couple of options. First, begin teaching pup a structured heel where he earns treats for watching you and heeling - most puppies forget about the pants biting altogether when you give them a better job to do on a walk. Follow the Turns or Treat Lure method - both methods involve treats - which can just be puppies own food for most training at this age (just ration pups meal kibble into treats and hollow chew toy stuffing and give what's left in a bowl or by hand) https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel1 Second, make the game less fun for pup. You can experiment to see which of method pup responds to best. Try either freezing when pup bites until he stops, then continue, OR taking a step in pup's direction, surprising him and nudging him a bit we with your foot so that he has to back up. Just be careful not to step on pup's paws when you step. Pup will probably tug harder when you first do this, give it a few days to really see if its effective. The final option is to use the leash to direct pup. That works well for some but if you can get pup to respond to your movement and focus on your heeling, pup is also less likely to tug on your pants when inside off leash. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ellie
Border Collie
9 Months
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Ellie
Border Collie
9 Months

Ellie was very good at coming back to us not on a lead until she was about 6 months old but one day decided not to and ran away into a field and we had to rescue her from a neighbours garden in the village.
We have since taken her out on a long line and are trying to re-enforce what she as taught as a puppy. She is very smart and will do this on a long line but today tried without the line in an enclosed area and she refused to come back until I managed to catch her. Any suggestions what to do as we love walking her off a lead.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Ellie is a very smart breed and she is showing her smarts by deciding not to come when she knows that the lead is not on. Because of her keen mind, she will be easy to train but - she is also independent and likes to chase and herd so you may have a challenge with that. If you have herding trials in your area, that would be something fun to do with her. Look at the Reel in Method, seen here. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall. This sounds similar to what you are working on and may enable you to fine tune it a bit. Any regression though, should mean back to the long leash training again. Also, make sure that Ellie is doing all of her obedience training levels; I think that the benefit of establishing a solid and respectful bond with you will enable her to put her wandering trait on the back burner and concentrate on listening and pleasing you. As well, you may have to consider that she will be a leash only dog. Try the consistent daily training first to see how you make out. Good luck!

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Angus
Border Collie
10 Months
3 found helpful
Question
3 found helpful
Angus
Border Collie
10 Months

Won't come when neighbors dogs are out. Totally ingnores my call. Continue s running and barking at other dogs on other side of fence

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
823 Dog owners recommended

Hello John, Other dogs can be extremely distracting and it is not unusual for a dog to ignore a known command in the presence of other dogs. Practice Angus' "Come" command around other dogs while a thirty or forty foot leash is attached to him. The safest way to do this is to have him wear a padded back clip harness and to attach the leash to that. Work at a distance from the other dogs first, such as on the other side of your own back yard, at a park with other dogs, or in the parking lot of a dog park. As he improves decrease the distance between Angus and the other dogs while you practice "Come". Tell him to "Come" and if he does not come on the first call then immediately reel him in with the long leash, have him "Sit" and focus on you, and when he is focused on you tell him "OK" and let him look at or go toward the other dogs again. Practice this multiple times in a row until he comes willingly when you tell him to. Any time that he ignores your command bring out the long leash and practice this as well, to remind him that "Come" is not optional. If you do not have the long leash already attached to him and he ignores your command, then go get him rather than repeating "Come". The idea is to teach him that the only way he is allowed to get to other dogs and do what he wants to is if he does what you ask him to do first, and that he is going to have to come either way so he might as well do it willingly. If he comes willingly when you call him then give him a treat when he arrives and is focused on you, before telling him OK again and letting him go. If you regularly use "Come" to get him to come back inside when he does not want to, then teach him a second command, such as "Inside", so that the word you use for "Come" is not associated with something negative, and less effective during an emergency. You can also leave "Come" alone and teach your dog "Here" for emergencies in addition to "Come" for the backyard and every day life things that are less fun. You can enforce that second word the same way that you enforce "Come", with the long leash, going to get him when he does not come, and rewarding him for obeying willingly, but if your dog is ever in an emergency situation you do want the "Come" or "Here" command associated with something bad, or your dog might not comply when it matters most. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
willow
Border Collie
3 Months
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willow
Border Collie
3 Months

When she is on the leash she wants to bite it and not do anything at all and off the leash she does not come when her name is called she wants you to chase her

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
823 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michelle, First, if pup is nervous about the leash, follow the Drag method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash If pup is simply overly excited about the leash, either spray the leash with bitter apple spray or white vinegar near where she is biting it - to make it taste bad, or when she bites it pull the leash toward the back of her mouth, near her gums to make it uncomfortable to have in her mouth, until she tries to spit it out - at which point give slack back into the leash. This is a common issue with many puppies. Don't give up on the leash. Try to be patient and calm - as hard as that can be. Most puppies try biting the leash at some point. You can also check out chew proof leashes like VirChewLy on Amazon, that are less pleasant for pup to put in their mouth and also safer it pup tends to break through leashes quickly. For the Come, once pup is doing better with the leash, check out the Reel In method from the article linked below. You can also start with the Round Robin method, then transition to the Reel In method later as pup is ready to learn a more advanced recall around more distractions. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Taz
Border Collie
1 Year
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Question
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Taz
Border Collie
1 Year

Her recall is ok at home but when we go to the off leash dog park she will chase and return the ball once or twice then hold it in her mouthed runoff to herd other dogs and their owners. She doesn't seem interested in hanging out with us and will run and herd between different groups in the dog park. Sometime she's steal a ball if she drops her own then she will not come when called. Its like she wants to just keep running and won't come until she's exhausted. Sometimes this can be 1.5 hrs later! She won't come as she thinks she's being taken home but after 1.5 hr really she is! I have tried long leash training that worked well. I think I just need to stick at it. Is she too old to correct this behaviour?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Taz definitely is not too old to correct the behavior. Keep working on the long leash training, yes. Does she get lots of extra long walks besides the dog park? She is the type of breed (as you know) that can go for hours. How about joining an agility club? Or flyball? Or treiball, where she can put her herding skills to good use. When you work on her recall skills at home, try reward-based training, and then when at the dog park, reward her when she comes to you - getting the reward at home will encourage her to respond at the park, too. As well, at home, provide mental stimulation, such as in the form of interactive feeder toys. When you return from the dog park, set her up with the toy and she should associate going home with another fun activity to follow. Good luck and have fun training!

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Oscar
Border Collie
5 Years
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Question
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Oscar
Border Collie
5 Years

Oscar doesn't come back when off the lead and even runs off onto roads etc.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
823 Dog owners recommended

Hello Deborah, Check out the article linked below and the sections specifically on using a long leash for teaching come and the Premack principle. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Scooter aka "Bubs"
Border Collie and Lord knows what!
4 Years
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Question
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Scooter aka "Bubs"
Border Collie and Lord knows what!
4 Years

THIS guy! I've known him since he was 8wks old & he became mine 8 months ago when his daddy passed away. SO freaking smart! TOO smart! Ha! My biggest challenges with him are trying to get him to settle when someone is at the door, jumping on people! (ugh), and recall when outside of my fenced in yard. Any help??

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
221 Dog owners recommended

Hi! He looks awesome!! What a cool dude. I am going to send you some pretty detailed information on teaching recall after I go over his behavior towards guests. He is going to have to learn that people aren't as exciting as they once were. Which is hard for us humans to do sometimes. We love happy dogs! You will want to set this exercise up a few times, before trying to practice it in the heat of the moment. If you have a willing friend or neighbor, grab them for a few minutes. Put Scooter on leash so you have control. As soon as someone knocks or rings the doorbell, ask him to sit. He will start associating sitting with that sound and eventually it will become a habit. And by eventually, I am talking a few months if you practice this every time someone comes in. Ask your guests to ignore him, try to keep him in a stay for as long as possible. Ideally 5 minutes or until he appears calm. Have treats handy! You may need these to distract him and keep him interested in you. Reward calm behavior. Repeat and repeat this until someones arrival is much less exciting for him. Recall: STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

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Archie
Border Collie Britt
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Archie
Border Collie Britt
6 Months

He won't come back when distracted

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
221 Dog owners recommended

Hello! So I am going to give you some tips on teaching recall. It is something you will have to practice to ingrain it into him so he is responsive in those settings. Recall: STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

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Lottie
Border Collie
10 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Lottie
Border Collie
10 Months

Lottie ie a Breeder’s Rescue pup ... 6mos at the breeder to herd cows ... Lottie afraid of cows and VERY timid of other BIG things (like bedsheets or towels ... even a cereal box !!!! 🙄. Then 3 months at the rescue (because they put a high adoption fee on her head) ... Then, she came home with me. She is 10 months going on 11 month (in 2 weeks) old.

She really is a sweet pup, but has another side that is TOTALLY defiant.! When she is on a leash, she is in “Puppy mode and totally understands every one-word command given. BUT, she has a mind of her own when she is off leash! Still won’t come easily when off leash unless I can get her in “puppy mode” .. then she turns over on back ... belly up! She allows me to “catch her”. If she is still in her mindful mode, she does what SHE wants ... not what anyone else (especially me) wants her to do. It’s like a purposeful TOTAL IGNORE !!!

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
221 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you information on how to teach recall. Recall: STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

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Question
Woody
Border Collie
3 Years
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Question
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Woody
Border Collie
3 Years

We have a lovely border collie who is generally very good at coming back to us but if he sometimes finds something more interesting than us, ie a rabbit/cat/squirrel and we then call him to come to us, he will totally ignore us until he has finished. If we go to get him, he then backs away and it is then impossible to get him back on the lead. We have to rely on strangers to go up to him to crab his collar and then pass him to us. Another thing he loves to do is chase a ball, which we do regularly for him but if he happens to see someone else throwing a ball for their dog, he straight away goes off to play with them and again, will not let us get him to put him back on the lead. We think that he realises that he has done wrong in not coming to us and doesn't want to be told off. We have consciously avoided telling him off but have sometimes just ignored him when back at home. We would be very grateful for any help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
823 Dog owners recommended

Hello David, Check out the articles I have linked below on coming. In this article, I recommend practicing the Reel In method with a long leash. Since pup is already good at a distraction-free come, specifically go looking for distractions to practice around with pup on the long leash, so that you can practice being able to enforce your Come even when pup is distracted. I would start with a 20-30 foot training leash and padded back clip harness. When pup is very consistent with that, you may want to transition to a 40-50 foot lightweight leash before going fully off leash again, so that pup feels like they are fully off leash in between. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall In this article below, check out the sections on using a long training leash (like the Reel In method) AND the Premack Principle. I would practice those two things with pup, practicing the Premack Principle with food, a ball, or distractions that would be okay to allow pup to get to occasionally - like a friend's friendly dog your dog wants to play with - coming to you before being allowed to say hi, or a squirrel in a tree. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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