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Puppy Program

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Puppy Parties and Socialization Classes

Teaching Puppies to "Come" on cue.

The double V method

Each person sits on the floor with their legs spread in front of them in a V shape with feet almost touching. From the side it looks like O< >O. The pup is kept on a leash to prevent it from jumping out of the double V and running away.

First, Person A calls, "[Pupname], come!”  Then the person  tries to get the pup’s attention with mouth noises, slapping the floor or using a squeaky toy. When Person A calls the pup, Person B acts BORING, looking away and removing all attention.

If the pup does not respond, Person A may need to use the leash to gentle tug and urge the pup to approach - praising every step forward.

Person B then calls, “[Pupname] come!” The goal if for the puppy to learn that each person has a treat reward worth approaching them on the double. 

If the puppy is not interested in food, explore other motivators such as a ball, squeaky toy, tummy or ear tickle. Suggest the puppy's owner withhold food longer before class next week, and bring a selection of tastier treats. Puppies are often very excited to play, and it takes a large stimulus to get them distracted from the desire to play (or hide if frightened.)

Once the puppy quickly runs back and forth when called for the treat, Person A and Person B can scoot back enlarging the size of the Double V (space between their feet).

Homework:  Try this game in a hallway. Vary from sitting to squatting to standing to call the pup back and forth. With each success, one person move a step backward until the puppy will run from one end of a hallway to the other. Later, this game can be extended to calling the puppy from room to room.

One person method

The person should first present the treat in front of the puppies nose; allow the puppy to lick it as the person says, [Pupname] come!  Walk backward keeping the puppy licking at the food treat. The puppy will follow. Praise as you walk backward. Before the pup loses interest (gives up) which is usually about four paces backwards, release the food (lure) as the reward. Then, release the puppy back to the play group by saying, "Go play!" 

The goal is for the puppy to learn that following you results in a food treat and freedom to return to play.

Keep a leash dragging so you can always grab it if the puppy begins to run away before the recall exercise is complete. You may want to start with a sit for a treat, then call the puppy as you move backwards.

Homework: Use the first 10 kibbles of the puppies meal to practice the word, "Come." As the puppy begins to understand, call the puppy from a few feet away when you KNOW the puppy WILL come.  If you call the puppy and the puppy ignores you, you lose progress. Keep a leash dragging so you can always insist, after calling your puppy. Praise but no treat if you need to reel the puppy in. But ALWAYS praise. Then call the puppy two feet so you can give a treat for a good response and end on a positive note.

Common mistakes people make ...

  1. If you want your puppy to learn the word, "Come," then say it once. If you want the puppy to learn the cue is "Come, come, come," then okay to repeat. Most people repeat the command too much. Instead, call the puppy, then follow-through with clapping, lots of praise to encourage the puppy to continue coming to you.
  2. Use a happy, high tone voice. If you sound angry, the puppy will not want to come to you.
  3. Do not call the puppy until you have the puppies attention and you are sure the puppy will come.
  4. Do not be too far away from the puppy when you call. You need to be able to grab the leash if needed to follow-through.
  5. Make sure you say the puppy's name once followed by the instruction, "Come." If you just say the pup's name over and over the puppy will learn to ignore you because you have not asked the puppy to do anything. The pup's name is not an instruction.
  6. Make sure you are more exciting than the puppy's play time.  Clap your hands excitedly, talk in a high happy voice, stamp your feet, make interesting mouth noises. The second the puppy looks at you, praise effusively to keep the pup's attention and interest. Back up quickly to stimulate the “chase instinct” reflex. Praise any movement toward you, and give a treat.

The Double V method was shared by R.K.Anderson, DVM, DACVB, inventor of the Gentle Leader, founder of the Delta Society. See


...::::::: Copyright 2000-Present  All Rights Reserved by Rolan Tripp, DVM  and Susan Tripp, MS, Animal Behavior Network and Associates :::::::...