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Six-month-old Bonnie practices coming when called
on a thirty foot leash.
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When Bonnie was only three months old, I taught her to come when I called and when I blew a whistle. She did a good job and was very reliable. But then she turned four months old and she forgot how. She didn't respond when I'd call her name. Actually, she didn't forget. Puppies often go through stages where they are more independent and don't think they need to pay attention. It's normal. I just kept on training and used lots of patience to get through this period.

Now Bonnie is six months old and for about four weeks we have been working on her response to my calling her. She is doing much better. She does remember what she's supposed to do when I call her.

All of this time I've been working with her in my yard and on walks in the neighborhood and she's progressing. The next step is to go where there are some distractions and see if she will come when I call her name.

I bought a very long leash. It's thirty feet long! With this leash, I can go to a park and let Bonnie wander away from me and still be safe. I can let her get distracted by people, bikes, and skateboards and then call her. It's a great way to practice and reinforce this command that can be very difficult.

One word of caution. Don't use a long leash if there are dogs nearby. If one runs to your dog, you won't have quick control with such a long leash. Also, don't use a retractable leash for this exercise. A regular thirty foot leash works best for your dog to wander and get distracted a long way from you.

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