Unless you live in the country with a pack of dogs, you don't appreciate how a dog can come to you when it's not called. Worse yet, it could get your throat bit by a more aggressive dog in the neighborhood that's not afraid of you.
It's important that your dog comes when you call so he won't have to worry about that anymore. There are times when it's nice to be able to go to the park with your dog without it running away so he can sniff out a rabbit or something. If you have a dog that doesn't like to come when called, you don't want to be afraid to take him on a walk to help him realize that it's not such a bad thing after all.
Most trainers start training your dog as a young puppy so the commands are fresh in his mind but he's not too young to learn to follow your commands. This especially happens with a dog that is old enough to have had some previous training. Whatever your training system, you need to start right away and there are ways to do this quickly.
It's a different story if you are trying to train a dog that has behavioral issues. It's so much easier to help a dog learn to follow commands when he has already been through some basic training.
Here are some tips for getting your dog to come when called:
1. Make sure that the entire family knows how to perform the training. That way your dog won't be confused about what commands he is to follow.
2. Choose a hand signal that makes it easier for your dog to understand what you want him to do. One choice is to hold your arm out flat palm down. Every time you call your dog and he comes to you, you need to praise him. The more he comes to you and the more praise you give him, the more you reinforce the activity of coming when called.
3. Encourage your dog to come to you when you call him and use a high-pitched voice. This sound should be a command to come. You may want to use a different sound like "come" or "come here" to let your dog know that you're not working with him.
4. When your dog learns to come, you should have a collar on. There should be a behavioral change that includes removing the collar. This way your dog won't associate coming to you with being choked.
5. Teach your dog to come to you without a leash. There should be no leash. You should have a food reward to give him every time he comes to you. He'll associate coming to you with a reward.
6. The fourth strategy in training your dog to come is to use a long leash. You should use a leash that's at least 15 feet long. You should practice this while you're walking, making your dog come to you as you walk. As he gets better at coming to you, you should use a longer leash.
7. If your dog loves coming to you, you should reward him. Why should he stop coming to you when he knows he'll get a treat? He'll want to come to you again and get the treat. You can also use a clicker. This way, he'll learn that when he hears the clicker, he's off to come to you and get a treat.
The good news is that most dogs are trainable. They have a tendency to be stubborn. If you're having a hard time teaching your dog to come to you and he's making you frustrated, the best thing to do is ask your vet or a professional dog trainer for help.