Once your Golden retriever is comfortable with the sit, down and stay commands you can start teaching him some of the more complicated commands. Note that it’s not the commands in themselves that are complicated, it’s that he’s going to face a lot of distraction. In this article we’ll go through how to teach your dog to come.
Before we start on the “come” command let’s talk a bit about using food treats. The purpose of food treats is to teach a new behavior. At first your Golden retriever needs a food treat every time he does the behavior correctly but as he becomes proficient you want to cut down on using food treats.
First try to give him a treat once every two times he gets it right. Then gradually lessen and randomize when you give him a treat. Randomizing will prevent expectation and will create the “chance to get a treat whenever I do something right”.
This is an ingenious mechanism to convince your Golden retriever to always obey your commands over and over again. Keep in mind that treat habits are somewhat independent between commands. Once he has learned sit you hardly ever give him a treat anymore. But you still give him treats for the stay command, for example.
Teaching Your Golden Retriever To Come
This command is a tricky one. Most people successfully teach their dogs to come but when they need them the most he won’t obey. Why? Because the owner is likely upset and, unbeknownst to him, his frustration is perceptible through his voice.
Then, the dog is afraid of what will happen if he obeys and either runs away or simply ignores him. The secret is never to “teach” the command. Instead, make it into a game.
You’re essentially going to play a hide and seek game. Have a couple of friends, or family members take a few treats and go to different rooms. Now take turns calling the Golden retriever and giving him a treat, nicely sprinkled with a lot of praise, whenever he finds the right person. You are basically inviting him to get a reward just by coming to you.
After a few turns the dog is figure out that it’s all a game, and everybody is playing. That means that everyone is waiting for him with a lot of praise and a reward. Once he loves the game you will come running whenever he hears the distinctive “where are you?” question.
Just to clarify, the actual command is “dogs-name, where are you?”, so for example “Daisy, where are you?”. Once he got the idea of the game enjoy watching your children hide in the bathtub or in the closet and challenge your Golden retriever to find them then. Golden retrievers are smart and like to have a job to do, this is the perfect combination of teaching and training.