How To Train A Dog To Come When Called

Have you ever been in a situation where you tried to call your dog to come to you, but he/she won’t do so? After all, we human beings aren’t robots and neither are the dogs. So, you will need to learn how to train a dog to come when called as your dog won’t do that by default. If you so happened to be a new parent raising a child, you will probably see that your child won’t come to you when you call him/her up. You will have to teach your child to do that.

The same idea apply with dogs. Let’s say that you have prepared dinner for your dog with a bowl of dog food and a bowl of water. You place the bowls in one room, but your dog is not present in that room.

That is a time when you want to call your dog up. Another situation where you will want to use this dog calling technique is when you want to give your dog a little bit of wiggle room to explore his/her surroundings. Here are a few ways in which you can get your dog to come upon being called.

How To Train A Dog To Come When Called In Two Ways

(Photo courtesy of Carsten Tolkmit via Flickr)

1. Basic Training With The Come Command

One of the ways you can get your dog to come to you is with basic training using the come command. The idea here is to get your dog to come to you by commanding him/her to come. You will want to get started by being close to your dog.

I would suggest that you start out by being about ten to fifteen feet away from your dog. Once you and your dog are in position, say the word “come” to get him/her to come to you.

Since this will be the first time that your dog has heard you give the come command, you will want to add in a visual cue for extra measure.

So, after giving the come command to your dog the first couple times, pat both of your legs or clap your hands to further encourage him/her to come to you. If your dog obeys your come command, make sure that you reward him/her for doing so.

One great way for you to reward your dog is with a tasty treat like Canine Carry Outs Dog Treats which come with a range of flavors to choose from – like hot dog or bacon and cheese. Chewy toys are another great way for you to reward your dog.

Kongs are ideal for chewy toys because they take a long time for dogs to work through and can be stuffed with treats inside in order to encourage your dog to complete them.

If your dog doesn’t obey your come command, take out your reward and dangle it in front of him/her, but don’t give it to him/her until he/she obeys you.¬†Every time that your dog obeys your come command, slowly increase the distance between yourself and him/her in order to increase the challenge.

Things To Note

It is worth mentioning that before you give your dog the reward, make sure that he/she comes all the way to you from where he/she was positioned when you used the come command.

You don’t want to reward your dog for only coming a half way towards you as it won’t reinforce the desired behavior very well.

Another thing to mention is that even though dog owners may be tempted to call their dogs by their names, you want to be careful not to rely on your dog’s name alone in order to command him/her to come to you.

Even though calling your dog by name may in itself get your dog’s attention, it is an ineffective way for you to command your dog to come to you. If you would like, you can call your dog by name then immediately follow it up with the come command.

Start The Training Inside The Home

You will want to start your training with your dog inside your home first. That is because the interior of a home tends to have the least amount of distractions for a dog like smells and noises.

Once you have successfully trained your dog to obey your come command inside your home, move outside to your backyard in order to increase the challenge with a higher level of distractions.

Once in the backyard, repeat the same come command training process that you did with your dog inside the home. Once you have successfully trained your dog in your backyard, you can advance to the next level by taking your dog to a dog park to go through the training process again.

Oh and don’t forget to bring the rewards with you to the dog park as you will need them there for rewarding your dog.

2. Training With Fun Games

(Photo courtesy of Eric Sonstroem via Flickr)

Another way for you to get your dog into the habit of coming to you when being called to do so is to play games with him/her. You will continue to use the come command, but it will be used in ways that will be fun for you and your dog.

There are three types of games that I am going to discuss here. Make sure to have rewards ready for your dog for obeying your come command.

Catch Me

The first game is called Catch Me. This game happens when you and your dog are going for a walk. Be sure that your dog is on a leash.

As you and your dog are walking, start to run at least a few steps and say the word “come.” If your dog runs along with you, then stop and reward your dog for obeying your come command.

I would recommend that you get the BAAPET dog leash for use in this game as it is comfortable for you to handle, comes in nine different colors, and is intended to encourage your dog to catch up to you since it is only six feet long.

Also, make sure that the leash is attached to a no pull harness with a front clip as you don’t want to injury your dog’s neck.

Find Me

The second game is called Find Me. This game is pretty much what it sounds like. In this game, you go to a different room from that of your dog inside your home and you give him/her the come command.

Your dog will then need to come and find you. It operates a little bit like the hide and seek game. If your dog does come and find you after being called to do so, then go ahead and reward him/her for it.

Hot Potato

The third game is called Hot Potato. This game is just like the Find Me game except that it involves two or more persons working together. First, spread the rewards for your dog among yourself and your partners.

Then go to different rooms of your home and take turns to call on your dog to come by using the come command. If your dog come and find the person who called him/her, this person is the one who will reward him/her for it.

There You Have It For How To Train A Dog To Come When Called

These are the two ways that you can go about how to train a dog to come when called. The process to call your dog to come to you is called a recall.

Ideally, you will aim for one hundred percent reliability in which your dog will always come to you every time that you call on him/her to come to you.

What are your thoughts? Does your dog obey you whenever you give him/her the come command to get him/her to come to you? Feel free to leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “How To Train A Dog To Come When Called”

  1. When i had my dog stan, i used to train him to respond to the clicking of the clip on his leash. As i would do it before we went out for a walk, he related it to that, so instead of having to call him, i would just click his lead a few times and he would be guaranteed to come straight away.

    • That is great! I am glad to hear that it worked for you. Thank you for sharing your experience with how you got your dog, Stan, to come to you when you asked him to.

  2. These are some great tips for teaching a dog to come when called.  I had never heard of the hot potato game but that sounds like such a fun way to get the whole family involved,.  I think this is super important with a new pup because the dog should feel comfortable around all family members.  

    Recently, my friend brought home a dog from the shelter and she was worried about how the dog would react with their young children.  I think I will recommend this game, as it could be useful for the dog AND the children in forming a bond and teaching the dog to come when called by any of its owners.  

    I also like that you suggest starting inside then moving outside.  Distractions are huge outside, especially when there are other animals around! 

    Thanks for the great info!

    • You are welcome and also, congrats on your friend getting a new dog! As for playing a game of hot potato, yes that is a fun way for all family members to work together to get the new dog to come when he is called to do so.

  3. I enjoyed reading this article – How To Train A Dog To Come When Called. Communication is the key, Being able to relate and communicate with your dog can save your life. The tips listed are very clear and easy to follow. I believe all dogs should be trained. It will make our lives easier, a dog should know the basics come, stop and go

    • I am glad to hear that you enjoyed reading this article. Yes, I agree that communication with one’s dog is key. I am sure that it will make your life easier if you can get your dog to come when you want him/her to since you won’t need to walk to the dog all the time.


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