"Come" is a vital command to teach any dog, but if your buddy was bred for racing, and can run at top speeds when he wants to, "Come" is even more vital for him. Because your pup is probably prey driven like most sighthounds, and because he is fast, it is extremely important for him to recall when you tell him to. This command more than any other single command might one day save his life. Because your pup will be rewarded for running to you, he will probably enjoy learning it too.
Because your Whippet is prey driven it is extremely important to practice his recall around lots of distractions after he has reliably learned it in a calm location. Whether or not your pup can ever be trusted completely off leash will also depend on your specific dog. Some Whippets can learn to reliably come back when called even in the midst of chasing something. Others will always need a fence or a leash in order to remain safe, and that dog's recall is simply for emergency situations, not off-leash hiking.
Don't be afraid to act silly with your dog. Acting goofy when you call him while teaching this will encourage your pup to come to you and will make the training more fun for him. You might even discover yourself having a better time too because of it.
When you are using long leashes, start off by calling your dog to you when he is only about ten feet away from you. As he improves you can add more slack to the leash. It can be a bit tricky to handle the slack in the leash, call your dog, and get all of the timing correct at the same time at first. Do not be discouraged though. Like anything, it takes practice. Simply view it as a learning opportunity for yourself, and enjoy learning together with your dog. Before long your timing, multi-tasking skills will be wonderful, and your pup's "Come" will be great too.
When you call your dog, try to call him before the leash is completely tight, so that he feels like he is off-leash and so that he does not get jerked by the leash when he hits the end of it. When he masters coming while on a twenty or thirty-foot leash, then you can move onto a lightweight fifty-foot leash if you wish to improve his skills even more. The fifty-foot leash better mimics the feeling of being off-leash because of how far away you can get from your dog before calling him, and because it is lighter weight and easier for him to forget that he is wearing it. Do not start off with a fifty-foot leash though, unless you plan to only use half of its length at first. If your dog takes off with the full fifty-foot length behind him before he learns that he is still attached to a leash and before he learns to come back when you call him, then he is more likely to hit the end of the leash and get hurt. This is also the reason why you should use a padded back clip harness while teaching this on a long leash. A padded back clip harness is a lot safer than a front clip harness or a collar if he takes off and hits the end of the leash.
If you are using 'The Run Away Method' then you will also need one of your dog's favorite toys. If you are using 'The Run Away Method' or 'The Round Robin Method' then you will also need a calm, spacious, safely enclosed space, such as a fenced-in yard. You might also need a padded back clip harness and a thirty or fifty-foot leash, to practice the command in more distracting locations if those locations are not safely enclosed also. If you are using 'The Reel In Method' then you will also need a twenty-foot leash, a lightweight fifty-foot leash, a padded back clip harness that fits your dog properly, and a calm, spacious location to practice this in. If you are using 'The Round Robin Method' then you will need at least one assistant but more than one is even better.
For all of the methods. you will need various locations where you can practice your pup's recall around distractions in a safely enclosed area or on a long leash. You will also need a great sense of humor, enthusiasm, excitement, and lots of verbal praise when your pup gets the command right.
My dog keeps scratching the door when I leave him outside next to the door, or when I leave the house.
Hello Kien, Discipline Lucky for scratching the door. Go to the door tell him "Ah Ah", and then discipline him in a fair but firm way. You can also use a remote vibration collar or air spray collar. That type of tool will allow you to discipline while not present and it will avoid giving him negative attention too. Do NOT use the citronella collars though, only use an unscented air collar. Pick a collar that has a manual remote, set up a camera to spy on him when you leave the house, and when he scratches on the door vibrate the collar or release a puff of air by pressing the button on your remote. You will need to pretend to leave the house at first so that the remote's range will reach from the front of the house to the backdoor. You can also purchase screens that go on doors to protect the doors from damage, but that will simply prevent damage, it will not teach him to act differently. You may want to purchase the screen still to prevent further damage while you are still training Lucky. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Rolo is leash aggressive towards strange dogs, he pulls on the leash, and doesn't really listen to come outside of our yard. I have a long line and many treats, but he isn't motivated by treats or toys... how can I teach him to come/follow me when there are other dogs around??
Hello Cadence, Look online and see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your city. If there is, I highly suggest attending one with him. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for aggressive or reactive dogs who all wear muzzles during the class and work on socialization and obedience together. This is a faster way to work through reactivity issues often times. Also, check out the video linked below. I suggest hiring a trainer to help you implement the training. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Look for someone who has access to a training facility with several friendly dogs on property where the trainer can get Rolo around a lot of other dogs and work on his response in a quicker amount of time than you could in your neighborhood. Teach him a command like "Watch Me" that means look at me. Work on heavily rewarding him for obeying that command with praise. When you start to approach another dog, give him that command and praise him for focusing on you. Also praise him for normally looking at you when another dog is present even if you have not told him to. Reward calmly praise him for looking at the dog and staying calm, looking at the dog and then back at you, and generally being calm. You want to make the presence of another dog pleasant for him and also encourage focus on you instead of that dog. Go to places with a lot of space, like the park, where you can control how far he is from other dogs and train where he is close enough to notice the other dogs but far enough away to still look at you for direction and stay a bit calm with your help. All of this will go much faster if you attend a G.R.O.W.L. class or hire a trainer who has access to other dogs to help you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Inside the house, he doesn't leave my side, but outside, he doesn't not come, stay or stop. Obviously, given his speed, this is a concern. He is my 3rd Whippet and the only one I cannot get to come to me upon command. Very stubborn and actually smart, too.
Hello Suzette, I recommend using the Reel In method and practicing around gradually harder and harder distractions as pup improves. This will take a lot of repetition. I also recommend practicing the Premack principle from the second come article I have linked below. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall PreMack Principle section: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We don’t have a fenced yard and occasionally she gets out and all she wants is to run, fast and not come back until she’s ready. She listens well at any other time but not off leash. We’d love to train her to stay on our property off leash and to come back when she gets out.
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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