How to Train Your Puppy to Go Home

Medium
1-3 Months
Behavior

Introduction

Have you ever watched a movie or a television show where a dog went to great lengths to find his way home? We all hope for such an outcome if our beloved pets ever become lost, but just how practical is that scenario? While your dog might not be able to make his way across the entire continental United States in order to find his way home again, what if he could make his way back to your house from another part of your neighborhood if he were to leave your yard?

In addition to being an important command for safety, 'Go Home' can also be quite convenient when your dog is in your backyard and you want him to come back inside or if he manages to slip out of your fenced in yard.

Defining Tasks

You can generally expect this command to take between one and three months to train with the occasional dog learning it even faster. How quickly your dog learns this trick will depend partially on his personality and partially on how frequently you practice it with him.

Be patient with your pup while he is learning to 'Go Home' from further away. Most dogs do not generalize well, so he will probably need to be shown what to do again the first few times that you try this trick from another spot, especially if you are teaching him to go to a different door than he is used to.

To keep your puppy eager to do this trick once you have taught him it, try not to send him home for any type of punishment or experience that he hates, such as getting a bath. If you are going to punish him or give him a bath, then gently go get him and bring him inside instead.

Getting Started

To get started, you will need lots of small treats that your puppy really loves, a door that leads outside, and a long leash that is anywhere between twenty and fifty feet. If you are using the 'Reel In' method, then your leash will need to be fifty feet and you will need a padded back clip harness as well. If you are using the 'Daily Routine' method, then you will also need a fenced in backyard. You might also want a fenced in yard if you are using the 'Heavy Reward' method, but it is not required. With all of the methods, you will need enthusiasm, patience, and a positive attitude.

The Daily Routine Method

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Step
1
Set up
To begin, you will need a fenced in backyard and a door to your home that opens up into that yard. You will also needs a lot of tasty treats and somewhere to keep the treats right inside of the door that leads to your fenced in yard. You will also need a long leash.
Step
2
Add command
When it is time for your dog to come back inside from play time or a potty break, tell him to 'Go Home' in a happy and excited tone of voice. If he does not come to the door when he hears your voice, go to him, show him a treat, repeat the command, and then lead him with the treat to the door.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as your puppy steps inside your home through the doorway, give him two tasty treats, one at a time. Be enthusiastic about his arrival, making sure that he knows he did the right thing.
Step
4
Repeat
Continue telling your puppy to 'Go Home' every time you call him to come inside. Reward him with two treats whenever he obeys and use this as practice.
Step
5
Add other doors
When your puppy will come running to the door of your house when you tell him to 'Go Home', take him outside into a different part of your yard - such as your front yard - on a thirty foot leash. Tell him to 'Go Home' while he is in the non-fenced part of the yard. If he needs help finding the new door, lead him to it with a treat until he can find it on his own.
Step
6
Reward going home
When your puppy steps through the new doorway, reward him with two treats. Practice this with all of the doors that lead inside your home so he can equate the command with the behavior, no matter the door being used.
Step
7
Add distance
When your puppy can find the various doors that lead into your house, practice this command on a long leash, further and further away from your home. When you tell your pup to 'Go Home', follow your puppy while holding onto the long leash as he leads you back to your home. Reward him when he arrives at your door and goes through the doorway.
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The Reel In Method

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Step
1
Gather supplies
To begin, you will need a fifty foot leash and a padded back clip harness. You will also need a lot of tasty, easy-to-eat treats, and a front or back door into your home.
Step
2
Attach the leash
First, put the harness on your pup and attach the fifty foot leash to it. Take your pup outside and let him wander ten feet away from your front door while you stay by the door.
Step
3
Add command
Next, tell your buddy to "Go Home" in an excited tone of voice, and if he does not come on his own, gently reel him in with the long leash.
Step
4
Reward
Next, tell your buddy to 'Go Home' in an excited tone of voice. If he does not come on his own, gently reel him in with the long leash. Try not to tug or yank on the leash to get him to come to you.
Step
5
Repeat
Continue taking your puppy outside and telling him to 'Go Home' until he will eagerly come back to the door when you tell him to, or until he will not leave the door without you.
Step
6
Go further
When your pup will eagerly come back to the door when you tell him to 'Go Home', or he will not leave the door without you, then place several treats right in front of your door when your puppy is not looking and wander twenty feet away from the door with your him. If you cannot place the treats without your puppy seeing them, recruit an assistant inside your home to do this after you walk away.
Step
7
Send him home
With your pup on the long leash, stand in place twenty feet from your door and tell him to 'Go Home'. If he does go home, praise him when he finds the treats that you left behind. If he does not go home when you tell him to, then after several seconds of waiting, run back towards your door to encourage him to follow you. Praise him when he finds the treats and allow him to eat them.
Step
8
Practice from that distance
Practice telling your pup to 'Go Home' from twenty feet away from the door until he will happily go to your door without you leading him there. You may need to repeat this a few times for him to get the hang of it.
Step
9
Make it difficult
When your puppy will eagerly 'Go Home' from twenty feet away, gradually send him home from further and further away. When you reach fifty feet and your leash will no longer reach the entire way, follow your puppy home a few feet behind him. Practice this until your puppy can find his way back home from different locations in your neighborhood.
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The Heavy Reward Method

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Step
1
Get started
To begin, grab lots of small treats that your puppy really loves and go outside with your pup. If your yard is safely enclosed, then practice this training just outside the door that leads into your home. If your yard is not safely enclosed, attach a long leash that is at least ten feet long to him.
Step
2
Reward with food
Have your puppy start five feet away from the door while outside and tell him to 'Go Home'. Place six treats onto the ground in front of the door. Praise him when he moves toward the door and then allow him to eat the treats. After he eats the treats, open the door. If he goes inside, give him one more treat.
Step
3
Repeat
Practice telling your pup to 'Go Home' and then placing treats onto the floor for him to eat until he is eagerly anticipating the treats as soon as you say 'Go Home'.
Step
4
Add distance
When your pup is eagerly anticipating the treats, wait until he moves away from the door and goes to investigate something else. When he is away from the door, tell him to 'Go Home', and then praise him. Place several treats on the floor when he arrives.
Step
5
Practice
Practice telling your puppy to 'Go Home' while he is away from the door until he will eagerly go to the door as soon as you tell him to from anywhere in your yard.
Step
6
Walk away
When your pup is not looking, place several treats on the floor and walk to the back of the yard. Tell him to 'Go Home' from there. If he goes to the door instead of you, praise him and allow him to eat the treats placed there. If he comes to you instead of going to the door, then lead him to the door and practice this until he begins to go to the door instead of you.
Step
7
Add a door
When your buddy will go to the door when you tell him to, attach a long leash to him if he is not already on one and go to another part of your yard. Repeat the entire process with a different door if you have multiple entrances into your home.
Step
8
Go other places
When your puppy will go to your home from any part of your yard, gradually increase the distance between him and your home by sending him home from other locations near your home while he is attached to a long leash. Make sure that you have left treats by your door for him to find when he arrives. Be sure to work up to further locations gradually to help him to remember where to go.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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