How we train “Come” with the Remote Training CollarAngela Bentley
Training a dog to come when called reliably takes work and lots of practice. We use Dogtra brand remote training collars for their variable levels and reliability.
The remote training collar is an electronic training device that your dog wears around their neck. You control the collar with a handheld remote that gives single or constant stimulation. Some remote training collars also have vibration, beep, or both. While these can be handy in some situations, for our training purposes, we stick with the electric stimulation since we have complete control over the level the dog will feel. This allows for a light touch.
We begin by finding the dog’s level of acknowledgement of the stimulation by observing an ear twitch, turning their head to the side the collar box is sitting on the neck, or other, and then we begin shaping the dog’s movements.
The Conditioning phase gives the dog information as to what to do when stimulation is turned on.
First we start with the dog on a leash. As the dog is distracted, back away until the leash is taut. Then begin tapping the remote collar button and add a little more pressure on the leash to help the dog turn into the leash and as the dog turns about, stop tapping on the button. At this point, turning into the pressure is all that’s required of the dog.
We may or may not use treats to reward the behavior of turning toward the trainer. It all depends on the dog, the situation, and whether or not a food reward is needed. Also, at this phase, there is no command. We want the dog to concentrate on the conditioning part of the training and understand that the stimulation means “turn toward the person” before putting a command to what they are doing. This phase progresses quickly into the next phase of coming all the way to the trainer.
The teaching phase requires the dog to perform a command before the stimulation goes away.
Now we up the requirement of what we are asking of the dog. When we begin tapping on the Remote Collar button the stimulation will mean to turn and come all the back to the trainer. We proceed as we did above but as the dog turns toward us we back up a few steps to draw the dog into taking steps toward us. Once the dog is committed to coming to the trainer, the stimulation stops. A food reward and/or praise is given when the dog reaches the trainer. After several repetitions we add “Come” as the dog starts heading toward us. The word “Come” will now mean the action of “head to this person” and get reward.
When the dog is progressing well, we begin saying “Come” and then begin tapping on the Remote button while continuing help with the leash if needed.
Moving into the distraction phase we want to add distance as well as distractions. We begin with a 15′ long line for the first several days then progress to a longer, thinner line made of paracord. This line allows the dog to “feel” free while having the security of a line. We look for all different kinds of distractions. Other dogs behind fences, squirrels and other wildlife, people, cars, and just whatever the dog distracted by in the moment.
As the dog begins to understand the “Come” command in lots of different situations we’ll say the command, wait a second or two and then tap if the dog has not begun to come to us. This pause gives the dog a chance to make the right decision without help. But with the Remote Training Collar that help will always be there until you know your dog will come to you in even the most difficult distractions.