The Recall - Teach Your Dog To Come


Of all the basic obedience commands people teach their dogs the recall (come) is by far the most important one and often the most difficult but it does not have to be so hard.


First of all you have to look at it from the dog’s point of view.Most people only use the recall when they are asking the dog to come away from something he is having fun with.For example – You arrive at the dog park and let your dog off leash to run around and have fun with his friends and then you call him to come only to put his leash back on and head home to put him out in the backyard and left alone (boring).It’s not going to take him long to realise that coming to you means fun time is over and he will pretty quickly decide that not coming when called is the better option for him.Instead when you are at the park you should call him many times giving him treats and praise each time so that coming to you does not always mean its home time and that its fun cause he gets a yummy surprise.

When teaching your dog the recall you should never ask him to come when it’s going to result in a negative for him.


You want to make sure you always set your dog up for success and by having a leash on him when teaching him the recall or any new trick for that matter you can help him out to succeed every time you ask by staying connected to him.


Start in a quiet room or section of the backyard where there are as little distractions as possible.Have a pocket full of his absolute most favourite treats that he only gets at training time or a special toy that again only gets used for training so that he does not get bored with them.Start with your dog about 1 metre away from you.Call your dog’s name so that he is looking at you then lean over so that you are putting yourself in the doggy play position and clearly call come in your most excited voice giving him lots of praise as he comes to you.As soon as he reaches you give him his special treat and tell him how good he is.You want to repeat this at least 5 times but not more than 10 in the one session as he will get bored with it.

As your dog becomes more reliable with the recall you can increase the distance between you and your dog and then also make it harder by adding a few distractions.


If your dog gets distracted whilst coming to you or does not come when first called here are a few tips to help you out.

  • Use your excited voice.
  • Run backwards whilst calling as dogs can’t resist playing chase
  • Encourage him by showing him the special treat he will receive when he gets to you.
  • And remember you have a leash on to help him out so give him a little tug to show him what you want.


  1. Clearly call your puppy / dogs name
  2. Clearly call “COME” (or whatever word you choose to mean “come to me”) just make sure you are consistent and always use the one same word.Don’t add extra words to your command word such as come here as that will mean something different to your dog and confuse him.
  3. Give a tug on the leash which should make your puppy / dog turn to look at you and start toward you.
  4. Back up gently bringing the lead into you telling your puppy / dog what a great job he is doing whilst he is coming to you in order to encourage him the whole way that he is doing the right thing.
  5. If puppy / dog does not look up at you and continues sniffing the tree or whateverhe is doing give a firmer tug on the leash and call again “puppy (his name) COME” Anytime he slows down or appears distracted, give another tug with cheerful encouragement.
  6. Give him lots of praise and his special reward when he reaches you.It’s always a good idea to touch his collar when giving him the treat in order for him to get use to it for when you do have him off leash and want to put him back on leash.


Progress your dogs training in baby steps.If he’s learned to come when called in your kitchen, you can’t expect him to be able to do it at the dog park when he is surrounded by a pack of his buddies.And remember that real success is a journey not a destination.So as long as you are a loving and playful coach, the time you spend coaching your dog will never be time wasted.You will always be learning new things about each other and deepening your bonds of trust. 

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