This is the most important command of all, and it’s the easiest to teach. Back up a few feet from your puppy with a training treat in your hand. If he doesn’t want to leave you, have an assistant hold him. Show Pup the treat, and encourage him to come to you. As soon as he starts in your direction, say, “come,” and praise him as he makes his way in your direction. Stop praising if he starts to wander off.
As you progress, stop giving treats every time the puppy comes, but always praise. Gradually make the exercise harder by increasing the distance. If you need to keep him from becoming distracted, you can add a long cord at this stage, and give him a little tug as needed. As with all dog training, you have to add distractions, increase distances, and repeat, repeat, repeat. Avoid hauling the dog to you while calling “come,” and never call your dog to you to punish him.
Be sure to check out our full guide on how to train a pup to be your new hunting buddy.
Photograph by Ralph Smith