Know When to Trust Your Dog to COME

The hardest part of COME is knowing when you can trust your dog—you should feel it. It's never a smooth road in the beginning; some days you will get a quick and happy response, others will feel more like your first day of training. Just remember that frustration is a sign of weakness and you'll lose your dog's respect. When you're first testing your level of control, bring your dog to an enclosed area. Be calm and relaxed, and don't be afraid to back track to an early phase of training. If you're at all unsure, use the long line exercise described on page 99.

When letting your dog romp off-leash for the first time, you're nerves will be the hardest thing to control. Before you begin:

• Place treats in your pocket or snack pack, and bring a clicker if you're using one in your dog's training.

• Bring several of your dog's favorite toys, such as Frisbees or balls.

• Bring your long line just in case your dog is not cooperative.

• Walk your dog or exercise him with another dog to take the edge off his excitability.

• Read over the sections on the off-leash COME.

• Relax. The more confident you seem, the more your dog will want to stay around you.

My dog comes well but often runs right by, crashes into me, or plays keep away. What should I do?

Mr. Funny. You need to work on the reconnection exercises on page 98 to teach him that the COME command means that you're together: the equivalent of a human huddle, with the team coming together to establish a sense of unity.

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