The best time to start training your dog is when he is still a puppy. Puppies, like people, absorb programs and behaviors from a very young age. Except for ages 8 to 11 weeks old, give your pup the benefit of meeting people, other dogs, and the world in general. However, during that 3-week period, the puppies can get scared very easily. And the things that scare them can have a deep impression on their psyche.

One of the most important and basic commands a puppy or dog must learn is the “Come” command. This can literally save his life if he gets off leash or runs off near a busy street. But it’s not an easy command to teach dogs. Persistence and the right approach are important here.

Some of the main mistakes people make when teaching their puppy to “Come” are:

* Scold him when he finally comes to you – This is a great way to teach your dog how to avoid you! Scolding Will Not Make Him Come Any Faster One of the key things to remember when training a dog is to praise him when he responds, no matter how frustrated or upset he may be, or how slow he may be. Praise him, and he will associate coming to you with good things and be more accommodating next time.

* Just stay there when he says “Come” – your dog doesn’t know what this means yet and you need to give him visual and verbal cues of what he means. Try squatting down, making happy sounds as he claps his hands. Your dog will be eager to come to you then. Make it attractive!

* Praise only when your dog actually approaches you – you should start praying to him BEFORE he approaches you. Like the previous point, it makes the dog want to come to you.

* Not practicing: In daily life, there may not be many reasons to use the “Come” command. But unless your dog starts practicing it at home, he won’t know how to respond when you need it. You need to reserve time and call it to you. You will need to practice it at least 12 times a day.

The tone of voice you use is important. The key is to make the process fun and your voice should reflect this.

References: B Kilcommons and S. Wilson, Good Owners, Great Dogs

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