HomePet TrainingTeaching Your Dog to Come When Called

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

Teaching your dog to come when called is an essential part of pet training. It ensures the safety and well-being of your dog, as well as creating a strong bond between you and your furry friend. However, recall training can be a daunting task for many dog owners. It requires patience, consistency, and the right techniques. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of teaching your dog to come when called, various training techniques, common challenges, reinforcement methods, practice exercises, and real-life examples.

Importance of Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

Recall training is crucial for every dog, regardless of their age or breed. A dog that responds promptly to its owner’s call is less likely to get into dangerous situations such as running into traffic or getting lost in unfamiliar areas. It also allows you to keep your dog under control in public places or around other people and animals.

Moreover, recall training strengthens the relationship between a dog and its owner. When a dog understands that coming to their owner when called results in positive reinforcement and treats, they are more likely to trust and obey their owner. This trust and obedience create a strong bond and a healthier dynamic between the dog and its owner.

Training Techniques

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

There are several techniques for teaching your dog to come when called. Each dog may respond differently to various techniques, so it is essential to find the one that works best for your dog. Here are some common techniques for recall training:

Name Recognition

The first step in recall training is to ensure that your dog knows its name. The easiest way to teach name recognition is by using a clicker or a treat. Every time you say your dog’s name, and it looks at you, click or give it a treat. Repeat this exercise several times a day until your dog responds to its name consistently.

Use Positive Association

Dogs respond better to positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Therefore, it is crucial to create a positive association with the “come” command. Start by saying the word “come” in a cheerful and friendly tone while giving your dog a treat or its favorite toy. Repeat this exercise several times a day, gradually increasing the distance between you and your dog.

Use a Long Leash

Using a long leash is an effective way to teach your dog to come when called. It gives your dog more freedom to roam around while still being under your control. Start by attaching a long leash to your dog’s collar and let it explore the area. When your dog is at a distance, say the “come” command and gently tug on the leash. If your dog responds and comes to you, reward it with praise, treats, or playtime. If it does not respond, gently reel in the leash until your dog reaches you.

Make it Fun

Dogs are playful creatures, and they respond well to fun and interactive training methods. To make recall training enjoyable for your dog, try incorporating games into the exercises. For example, hide behind a tree or a bush and call your dog’s name. When it finds you, give it a treat or play with its favorite toy. This game will not only reinforce the “come” command but also keep your dog engaged and entertained.

Be Patient and Consistent

Recall training can be challenging and frustrating at times, but it is essential to remain patient and consistent. Your dog may not respond to the “come” command immediately, but with time and practice, it will learn to obey. Remember to use the same techniques and commands consistently to avoid confusion.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

While teaching your dog to come when called, you may encounter some common challenges. Here are some of the most common challenges and how to overcome them:


Dogs are curious creatures, and they can easily get distracted by their surroundings. It is vital to train your dog in a quiet and controlled environment initially. As your dog progresses, gradually introduce distractions such as toys or other animals.

Fear or Lack of Trust

Some dogs may not respond to the “come” command due to fear or lack of trust in their owner. If your dog has a history of abuse or neglect, it may take more time and patience to build trust and obedience. Start by using positive reinforcement techniques, and avoid using any negative reinforcement or punishment.

Running Away

If your dog tends to run away when called, it could be because it associates the “come” command with something unpleasant. For example, if you only call your dog when it’s time to go home or when it misbehaves, it may start resisting the “come” command. To overcome this challenge, make sure you use the “come” command positively, even when you are not planning to leave or discipline your dog.

Prey Drive

Some dog breeds have a high prey drive, which means they are naturally inclined to chase after small animals. This instinct can make it challenging for them to respond to the “come” command. In such cases, it is essential to use a long leash and gradually increase the distance between you and your dog when practicing recall training.

Reinforcement and Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective methods for teaching your dog to come when called. It involves rewarding your dog with treats, praise, or playtime every time it responds to the “come” command. Here are some important points to keep in mind when using positive reinforcement:

  • Use high-value treats like boiled chicken, cheese, or hot dog pieces.
  • Make sure to give the treat immediately after your dog responds to the “come” command.
  • Always use a positive and upbeat tone when giving the “come” command.
  • Avoid using any negative reinforcement or punishment, as it can create fear and distrust in your dog.

Another essential aspect of reinforcement is consistency. It is crucial to reinforce the “come” command every time your dog responds, even if it takes a few attempts. This consistency will help your dog understand that responding to the “come” command always results in positive reinforcement.

Practice Exercises

Practice makes perfect, and the same is true for recall training. Here are some practice exercises you can do with your dog to reinforce the “come” command:

Indoor Practice

Indoor practice exercises allow you to control the environment and minimize distractions. Start by standing a few feet away from your dog and saying the “come” command while holding out a treat. If your dog responds and comes to you, give it praise and the treat. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog and repeat the exercise.

Outdoor Practice

Outdoor practice exercises can be more challenging due to the presence of distractions. Begin by practicing in a fenced yard or a quiet park. Use a long leash to control your dog’s movements, and gradually increase the distance between you and your dog while calling its name and using the “come” command.

Real-Life Scenarios

Once your dog has mastered the “come” command in controlled environments, it is essential to practice in real-life scenarios. For example, you can call your dog to come inside the house, come back to you while on a walk, or come to you when playing in the park. These real-life scenarios will prepare your dog for any situation where it needs to come to you when called.

Real-Life Examples

Here are some real-life examples of how recall training has helped dogs and their owners:

Saved From Danger

A dog named Max was playing off-leash in his owner’s backyard when he spotted a large snake in the grass. Without hesitation, Max’s owner called out the “come” command, and he immediately responded and ran back to her. Thanks to recall training, Max was saved from a potentially dangerous encounter with the snake.

Avoided a Car Accident

A dog named Luna was walking off-leash with her owner when she saw a squirrel across the street and darted towards it. Luckily, Luna’s owner had been practicing recall training consistently, and Luna responded to the “come” command promptly, avoiding a potential car accident.

Strengthened the Bond Between Dog and Owner

A dog named Charlie was a rescue who had trust issues and would often run away when his owner tried to call him. With patience and consistency, his owner worked on recall training and reinforced the “come” command with positive reinforcement. As a result, Charlie learned to trust his owner and strengthened their bond.


Teaching your dog to come when called is an essential aspect of pet training that ensures the safety and well-being of your furry friend. It also strengthens the bond between you and your dog. By using techniques such as name recognition, positive association, long leash, and making it fun, you can train your dog to respond promptly to the “come” command. Remember to be patient, consistent, and use positive reinforcement to overcome common challenges. With practice and real-life scenarios, your dog will become a pro at coming when called.


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