Ask the Trainer with Barbara Kahn

QuestionMy dog will listen to almost any other command I give, save for one: “Come.” She’s great in the backyard, but if she gets out in front, where it is more dangerous, she pretty much ignores me. I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement, so what would be the best techniques to fix this?
—Andrea, Philadelphia, PA

AnswerWhile there’s no simple answer to this question, the most important concepts for getting a reliable recall are as follows: make coming to you more fun than anything else; never punish or be stern with a dog that’s approaching no, matter how annoyed you are; teach your dog to chase you and never chase your dog; and practice, practice, practice in as many safe situations as possible. If you must, use a long line to insure the dog’s safety and compliance.

About the Trainer:

Barbara KhanBarbara opened WonderDogs in 1997 after beginning her professional career as a contributing editor with Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy magazines, and later at Bide-A-Wee Animal Shelter in New York City. She is currently a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and is one of a handful of obedience instructors in South Jersey to have passed the rigorous testing procedure to become a member of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors. She currently enjoys the company of her Amazon parrot and six dogs.

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