The story of a boy living with Type 1 and his family's journey to raise and train a diabetic alert dog.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Training the 'Come' Command

We practice the 'come' command several times a day. We are training Bo on this command, so he learns to respond to us immediately regardless of what may be happening around him. We train and practice the 'come' command using a 10 ft dog lead. The lead is used to guide Bo toward us as we call him. We start by allowing Bo to explore the environment in which we are training. The idea is for him to venture away from us. Once distance is established, but before the lead gets tight, we call him back to us. We consistently use the verbal cue, 'come Bo.' Our trainer, Helen, taught us how to use this method to train Bo to come on command.

We add distractions to make the work more challenging. In an open field, birds present a challenge. At the ball park, it's parents and children cheering on the sidelines. In the backyard, Austin tossing a ball to his friend is a distraction for Bo. The sequence of photos below illustrate the steps we use in the training process.

We wait for Bo to walk away from us.


As we call him, we gently pull the lead toward us.

We get animated and open our arms to Bo as we call him.

We make a big deal out of his coming to us on command.

When he gets to us, we first reach for his collar.

We gently hold his collar before treating him.



Adding the distraction of a dog nearby.
Adding the distraction of kids tossing a ball nearby.


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  2. We will continue practicing this daily until Bo is a year, maybe longer -- depending on how well he is demonstrating a strong recall.