You must train your dog to come back to you as early as you can.
Teaching your puppy recall is one of the most important things you will ever teach your Cocker Spaniel, and someday it could even save his life! Read on to learn how to train your puppy to respond to the recall command.
Training your dog to come back when you call him will be one of your first priorities and should be started as soon as possible before he has the opportunity to pick up any bad habits.
Giving your Cocker Spaniel early obedience training guarantees your puppy will grow into a well-behaved, confident adult dog.
Of course, you want to train your dog to come back to you when called but, you will probably find that this obedience training is one of the most difficult to achieve.
However, you mustn't give up because at some point, this training may be used to remove your puppy from potential harm, and it could even help to save his life!
Your objective is to get your puppy to come to you each time you call him, no matter what your pet is doing or where he is, as long as he's able to see or hear you.
Unfortunately, training a puppy to come to you when you call him may not always be as straightforward as it sounds, particularly with Cocker Spaniels or other scent driven dogs.
He's more likely to want to sniff around in the undergrowth, following the scent of rabbits or foxes, but don't let that stop you. Keep at it!
Patience and regular training will help you achieve your goals.
Begin this exercise indoors, but only when you're confident that you won't be disturbed and that nothing is lurking that could possibly distract your dog.
Practice these training exercises several times during the day. Make sure to space them out so that your puppy doesn't get overwhelmed!
As your dog begins to master this recall instruction, gradually extend the distance between you and your Cocker before calling him.
Once your Cocker Spaniel has mastered the recall indoors, it's time to take him into the garden (so long as it's dog and puppy proof) to train your dog to come to you when outside.
This is especially important as most of your recalls will be outside where there are many distractions such as birds, exciting smells, or next door's cat!
Once you're confident you can train your dog to come back to you in the garden, and he gets it right every time, you can take him to the local park and test his recall there.
One thing to bear in mind is that your dog may begin to associate the recall command with being put back on his lead and taken home.
If this happens, and he links the two in his mind, he may be reluctant to return to you when he sees his lead in your hand.
We need to ensure he doesn't make this connection.
So, the next time you walk your puppy, let him off his lead and call him back after a few minutes, praise him and put him back on his leash.
Walk him for a minute or two and then let him off again.
Practice this (calling him to you, putting him back on his lead and then letting him off again) several times during your walk.
Do this, and you'll find it won't be too long before he is trotting merrily back to you, despite holding his lead in your hand.
There are a few tips I can give you to help you train your dog to come back the first time you call him, for example:
Puppy obedience training isn't just for puppies; it also works for an adult dog who's never been trained or whose manners have lapsed. However, with adult dog training, it may take you a little longer.
Puppies are usually happy and excited to come to you when you call them. However, as they get older, they become a little more inquisitive and independent.
Trust me, they will try to test you!
If your puppy fails to return to you when called, give him a minute or two extra. He may eventually come to you in his own time.
When he does, or even if he begins to come back to you and then gets distracted, make a fuss of him.
However, on this occasion, don't reward him with a treat. Only give treats when your puppy responds immediately.
Training your puppy in this way (rewarding good behaviour and ignoring misbehaviour) will be much more effective, and your puppy will learn more quickly.
If your Cocker Spaniel won't come to you when called and decides to run off instead, don't be tempted to chase him.
All dogs love chasing games, and if you go running after him, he'll think it's fun and will carry on running away from you.
Instead, make a lot of noise (hopefully to distract him), turn around and begin to run in the opposite direction; when he sees you running away from him, he'll soon turn around and will start to run after you.
I understand that while watching your puppy running away from you, turning and running in the opposite direction may seem like the wrong thing to do and could be a difficult decision to take, but trust me, it really works.
Training your puppy to respond to your instructions/requests is vital if your puppy is to aspire to his full potential; a well-trained puppy is often a well-mannered puppy.
Once your Cocker has learned the recall instruction and readily responds to it, you'll feel more relaxed about letting him off the lead, but not before.
Like all obedience training, when you train your dog to come, you shouldn't stop the training once he's mastered the instruction.
Dog recall training is a continuing process and should be practised regularly. This will ensure your dog never lapses and always comes back to you the minute you call him.
If you've followed the advice given here, your puppy should be returning to you immediately, without too much (if any) hesitation.
As I said earlier, training a puppy to come back to you when you call him isn't always easy and will need constant reinforcement.
Devote plenty of time, energy, patience and perseverance to his training, and you'll be rewarded with an obedient, well-behaved little puppy!