Does your dog come when called? This is one of the most important commands you can teach your dog. It can be a challenging command for the dog that is a little stubborn, but this command can keep your dog (and other animals) safe when learned. In most cases, it is fairly easy to teach your dog reliable recall so that they come when you call. 

Your friends at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services offer tips for how to train your dog to come when called. We want to turn that no show Fido into a reliable recall Rover!

The Tools to Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Before you begin, you will need to gather a few helpful training supplies. These are essential if you want to use positive rewards training, which is highly effective.

  • A pouch for small training treats and whatever treats your dog loves
  • A plastic clicker (which will help reinforce the reward based training)
  • A long leash or a few leashes to be linked together
  • A whistle (optional)

Recall Words to Use

You may think that “come” would be an effective word to get your dog to come to you. And it is, unless it has a bad association. The words you choose during commands training must be intrinsically linked to a reward. If you use the word “come” and your dog isn’t ready to leave a favorite park or is expected to do something they don’t like, like get a post-walk bath, then the word is not going to work out.

Think of a word that has similar meaning, such as “here,” “to me,” or “let’s go.” Make sure when you use your command that you reward generously to reinforce the training.

To Begin Your Training

Dogs naturally want to come to you because they are social creatures. They already do when you have something they like, such as food or a toy. Use this to your advantage when you train them to come when called.

  1. Attach a long lead to your pet’s collar and let them explore.
  2. Show your dog a treat, toy, or something that will entice them to come to you.
  3. Say your chosen command.
  4. When they are next to you, exclaim “yes” or “good” and use your clicker while giving your pet a treat.
  5. You can use any combination of rewards to entice your pet and gain their cooperation.
  6. Repeat this process over and over, both on and off leash, until they come to you when you only use the command. 

Apply these simple steps in everyday situations. These include calling your pet for their meal, getting them ready to leave for a road trip, teaching them to walk off-leash, and playing games like fetch. If your dog still won’t come when called, try these additional tips.

Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Basic commands like “come” are lifesaving for our furry friends. This will help avoid accidents and run-ins with other animals and wildlife. It also prevents your dog from running off and becoming permanently lost. Are you struggling with training your dog? We’re happy to provide you with pointers when you call us or come in for your next appointment.