Calling Your Pet

Getting the attention of your dog (or cat, though many refuse to come when called) can be a trial by fire, especially if you're concerned that he or she is going to run away before you can summon them to you.  If this is a problem for you, you'll need to train or retrain your furry friend so that you can have peace of mind about having them come when called.  Calling your pet doesn't have to be a complicated business, but there are some things you should keep in mind when beginning the training process.

A cute white terrier laying in the carpet.

First off, before you even get your pet, you'll need to think about their name.  Whatever you choose is what they're going to respond to, if you use it enough, so you want something that's short and sharp enough to be easy to remember, but also unique enough that they're not turning their head at every word (or starting to ignore their name because they think you're just talking).  Two syllables usually make the best pet names, as they don't have too much in common with ordinary words but are not so long that your pet gets distracted before you even finish saying it.

Train them with positive reinforcement instead of punishing them when they don't come.  After your pet clearly knows his or her name -- when there is a visible response to your saying the name -- then it's time to start training them to come when called.  Take your pet somewhere distracting but safe, perhaps at a dog park or in a new home, and walk away from them.  With a treat in hand, call their name and say, "Come," or some other word that you want to associate with the action of coming to you.  When they obey, reward them.  It's a simple process!

Some people are concerned that their pet is going to run off with anyone who calls them, and if you're one of these people, you may want to consider choosing a special phrase so your pet will only obey you (or anyone else who knows the phrase).  Some people train their pets in another language, or come up with a random word that will summon them.  Whatever you decide on, be consistent, or your pet will become confused and give up altogether on obedience.

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