How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask PitRottMommy Your Own Question
PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 8246
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
Type Your Dog Training Question Here...
PitRottMommy is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have taken in a stray dog. We had her neutered and

Customer Question

We have taken in a stray dog. We had her neutered and treated for heartworms and ringworms. She is a healthy dog now. However, she will not come to us and we need to get her to wear a leash because we have two houses and we would like to be able to take her to our beach house. Right now, she has 5 acres to roam around in at our country home, and she has access to get in the office beside the garage. The office is her "safe-haven". We love her, but we are scared for her safety. She needs to be able to come to us when she is called. Her name is Jo-Jo. We appreciate any advise.
Catherine Pickren
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

Hi Catherine, thanks for your question.

Training a dependable "come" works best when started inside, without any distractions. You can do this with positive reinforcement for any age of dog.

It's obvious that she likes being near you if she will follow a command to be let into the house or office. It will only be a short stretch before she will come when called.

To start this, you'll want to make sure that you're using a food that she likes (cheese, small bits of hot dog, small pieces of bread, etc). You want them to be under the size of your pinkie nail. With this, show her the treat but do not give it to her. Walk back one step and call her name. When she comes to you, praise her with lots of pets and give her the treat. Then repeat until she will follow you believing that with each step she will get a new treat. Increase this inside of the home or office by walking into another room or hallway where she can see you and calling her name. Treat and praise her each time. Then, move on to moving into areas that she cannot see you and calling her name. When she finds you, treat and reward.

Teaching a dependable come when outside is a bit more tricky because dogs tend to lose focus and want to go see more interesting things. For this, you'll need to use the same yummy treats or find something even better that she likes (my dogs really enjoy freeze dried lamb lung or beef liver). It would help greatly to have a 2nd person involved or a very long lead attached to her so she cannot effectively wander off where you cannot regain her focus. In the same way, take one step away, call her name and then treat and praise her. Continue this with more steps and eventually while walking away from her without looking at her. You want her to believe that she's going to be positively rewarded each time that she chooses to come directly to you when you call her. Keeping treats in your pocket to encourage this bond with you is wise. As time goes on, you won't need to treat her for every positive behavior but it builds a solid foundation over time for her understanding that she's doing what you want her to do.

As far as the usage of a leash, start with a collar and ensure that she wears this comfortably before starting any leash training. In my opinion, come should be used before trying for leash manners since she's already roaming your property. After teaching "come", dogs are more likely to understand the benefit of being close by instead of wondering why they now have a strap attached to them that they didn't before. As with any training, treats, praise and repetition will earn you a lasting effect. I would recommend purchasing a leash that is reasonably long (6' or so) and not one that is extremely long and cumbersome (10' or more) where you have more than enough to have to fold up, organize or fight with to use. Long length leashes can be useful for training, but should be avoided for walking, if possible.

Start this in the house or office again: Call Jojo to you, treat and praise. Now attach the leash but allow it to dangle from her collar without you touching it. Repeat the directions as above for her "come" command. Eventually pick up the leash while holding it and encourage her to come. This method of training works best if the idea is 'hers' to stay close by, so make sure you give her a reason to want to be near you (attention, praise, treats for following commands, etc). Reward her diligence.

Eventually, move your efforts outside with leash on. Walk 1 step, call her, treat, praise. Move on to walking with her at your side when you call her. Treat and praise each time she walks with you. Continue this up until she's walking effectively with you on your property.

Keep in mind that this not only takes weeks of work but that you must continue your work for Jojo to remember what is expected of her. The more you work at it, the better she will get.

Did my response help to answer all of the questions that you had regarding your companion? If you have other questions, please reply and I’ll help you further.

Once you're satisfied with our dialogue, please take the time to use the star rating system at the top of the page to leave a rating for me. Until this is done, the website will not compensate me for helping you.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Catherine. Checking in. How is the training going with Jo-Jo?

Related Dog Training Questions