How To Train Your Dog To Come When Called

One of the most important things that you can teach your puppy is to come when called. It is also, I believe, to be one of the hardest things to teach your puppy/dog.

how to train your dog to come when called
young puppy eager to learn

So do you know how to train your dog to come when called? Do you have any idea as to where and when you should begin this training?

First, training your dog to come when called is vital and someday it may even save their life. There is nothing more frustrating than calling a dog and have it just totally ignore you. Many times owners get so frustrated that when the dog finally does come they make the biggest mistake ever which can be really hard to undo, they punish their dog.

You may defend this action by saying the dog did not come when called but in your dogs eyes he has responded to your command. So next time when you call him he may be even slower to respond.

Any time that you are teaching or training your dog you need to be patient and you need to keep your emotions on a level keel. Your dog can sense when you are mad and frustrated and they will respond to it.

When you are trying to teach your dog to come when called or anything for that matter you need to set them up for success.

For example, you are out in your fenced back yard and your puppy is running loose. He is very far away from you at this time sniffing at something that has caught his interest.

Would this be a good time to try and teach him to come when called? Probably not. You have no control over this situation. His focus is on something else and at this stage of his training he will not respond to you calling him.

Second example – Again you are out in your fenced back yard with your dog. You have some tasty treats on you. You also have a long leash on your dog. Your dog is away from you sniffing at something which has caught his attention. In a crouched, position treat in hand, with your most enthusiastic voice possible call your dog – “Fido Come”. If your dog responds tell him good boy in your most enthusiastic voice. Repeat this until he gets to you then reward him. If he does not respond flick the leash to get his attention. Do not repeat the command. You may want to clap your hands and hold your arms open also and when he starts to come towards you tell him good boy until he gets to you and then reward him.

how to train your dog to come when called
dog coming when called

It is going to take a lot of time, patience and practice to fully train your puppy/dog to come. Your ultimate goal is to have your dog respond to your command when off leash.

No matter how well your dog is trained it is never a good idea to have your dog off leash when out in public.

Make sure before you get a puppy/dog that you do have time for them. One of the main reasons for dogs being surrendered to shelters is not enough time to properly care for them. The other reasons are divorce, not allowed at residence and behavioural issues.

Please take the time to care for your dog and to train your dog. Be a part of the solution not the problem. Don’t let your dog become a statistic!

For more information on how to train your dog to come when called check out  Secrets To Dog Training.

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Comments

    • Sarah
    • September 7, 2015
    Reply

    For our rottie, this is all about circumstance. If we have what he wants and there are no distractions and he’s been played with and exercised for the day, he’ll come just fine. But that rarely happens. He’s old now, 7 years old I think and isn’t as obedient as when he was a puppy . What do you recommend for someone with an older dog that doesn’t get as much interaction as he needs?

      • Maureen
      • September 7, 2015
      Reply

      My only suggestion would be to make more time to interact with your dog. Dogs need exercise and play. If he plays well with other dogs maybe take him to a dog park. Also you should always be working on the recall. Carry treats at all times and use them. If he’s a typical Rottie then he is probably food driven.

    • Chris
    • September 7, 2015
    Reply

    This is a good breakdown of how to call your dog. I own two cats and it works pretty much the same way, although I think I’m lucky having obedient cats as friends of mine don’t. Really it comes down to punishment and reward and creating those emotional memories in the animal linking the thought of coming to you with good feelings. Nice article.

      • Maureen
      • September 7, 2015
      Reply

      I would think that cats would be much harder to train than dogs.

    • Gina
    • October 4, 2015
    Reply

    We rescued my dog from the SPCA when she was 2-3 and she’s 8 now. Bella is a pitbull/boxer mix and is very stubborn. She has more of a personality than some people I know. Bella purposely ignores whoever is calling her name, just rolling her eyes and looking at you in the corner of her eye. It’s pretty hilarious but she definitely doesn’t listen haha

      • Maureen
      • October 4, 2015
      Reply

      I have had dogs like that too Gina. I call it selective hearing. Try calling her and enticing her with her favourite treats. She is never too old to learn although I suspect she knows exactly what you want. Glad you adopted from the SPCA.

    • Dean
    • October 4, 2015
    Reply

    Hello,

    I found your article very interesting. I do not own dog for now, but I love them and few of them were very important part of my life.

    I agree with you completely. If you get a dog you need to care about him, have patience and time for him. Dogs are like children. I know that dog not lovers will not agree with me, but I don’t care.

    It is not easy to train a dog, but their love to us and their loyalty is the biggest reward.

    I enjoyed reading your blog and will come to see more about puppy and dog training again.

    Greetings,

    Dean

      • Maureen
      • October 4, 2015
      Reply

      You are so right Dean. When we get a dog we are taking on a big responsibility. They are not disposable items but unfortunately some people do view them as such. To many of us they are our furry children.

    • stefan
    • October 4, 2015
    Reply

    Hi There!

    Oh. I wished so much I had discovered your website when I my dog was younger. I think that the older it gets, the harder it gets to be training, am I wrong? Well, my dog called Joe, he actually comes most of the time when I call him.. but not always! well, I don’t expect him to obey me every time though, but it is frustrating when he doesn’t respond sometimes. I will try to reward you more for responding to me. Thanks for your tips! Thats a great post

    Stefan

      • Maureen
      • October 4, 2015
      Reply

      Don’t give up on him Stefan. If Joe is coming most of the time then he should be coming all the time and you should be expecting him to. Training a dog I think is your daily interaction with your dog. Even when you are in the house just call him and reward him when he comes. Of course make it the most tastiest treat ever. Training a dog takes a lot of time and patience but it is so worth it.

    • kerrie
    • October 5, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Maureen

    I like you article very much as you really paint a good picture of what goes wrong in this type of dog training

    Have you thought of doing short video clips to demonstrate?

    I would suggest your font size be a little larger if possible for easy reading

    I love dogs and any blog that I find on this topic is something that interests me but this is the first that got really specific and I think that is a really great thing

    Cheers
    Kerrie

      • Maureen
      • October 5, 2015
      Reply

      Hi Kerrie Unfortunately I don’t think I can make the fonts any bigger but I will look into it. I have never done video but that does sound like a good idea thanks for the suggestion

    • Rachel
    • July 27, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Maureen,

    I have a Chihuahua at home now and I used to have a Shih Tzu, a Poodle an a Jack Russel Terrier before (all at different timings).

    The Shih Tzu is given to us by another owner who cannot afford to raise her anymore, the Poodle is a rescued and the Jack Russel Terrier and Chihuahua are both bought.

    I just want to ask if you think that the type of dog (eg. toy, terrier, show, shepherd) affect the recall training? This is because our family had trouble recalling only the Jack Russel. The other three responded very well to their names when called, despite giving them all the same training.

      • Maureen
      • July 28, 2016
      Reply

      All dogs are not the same. Some dogs are smarter than others. Jack Russell terriers are a very intelligent dog and that may be your problem. I have never owned a Jack Russell but from what I’ve read the hardest part about training one is to convince him that he needs to do what he has learned when you want him to. So when training one of these high energy guys you need to mix exercise, mental stimulation, companionship and confident leadership. Using this combo when training usually will get them to listen. Also you need to start training at a very early age. Since they are stubborn and bossy you need to establish yourself as the pack leader through consistency.

      Also since they are so high energy a sport like flyball or agility will help drain some of that energy.
      It is also recommended that you not let your Jack Russell off his lead when out in public no matter how well trained. He has a strong drive to hunt and chase so if he gets a whiff of something like a squirrel he is gone.

      Good luck Rachel with your Jack Russell

    • Kim
    • September 20, 2016
    Reply

    You have made some excellent suggestions here Maureen. I have seen so many people that get frustrated when their dog doesn’t come when called. And then when they do get the dog to them they yell, well who would want to come to someone that is going to yell at you for doing that.
    Like you said, we need to be calm and encourage our dogs with a happy voice. Especially with a new pup, if people don’t have the time and patience they should look into getting an older dog of two years or more.
    Great article, thanks for sharing this.
    Kim

      • Maureen
      • September 21, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment Kim. I don’t know if you remember Barbara Woodhouse but she was a dog trainer in England I believe and she had a show on obedience. I just loved her happy voice. The dogs loved it also. I like your suggestion of getting an older dog. There are a lot of wonderful dogs at the shelter who would make a great addition to any family.

    • Kim
    • September 21, 2016
    Reply

    There are definitely great dogs at the shelter, I have adopted several and they have turned out to be the best well behaved pets there is.
    What I hate to see is families that get a pup for their kids and all the adults do is yell at the pup and the kids soon get tired of the pup.
    Just like we had here a month ago our neighbor did just that, finally they gave it away to a better family.
    A happy voice does wonders in training any pet.
    By the way, I really like your website here!
    Ki

    • SanShar
    • January 3, 2017
    Reply

    One of the main things to keep in mind is “Control” If you do not have control, you will not be effective in training a dog. So, what do mean by control? You have to put your dog on a leash. If your dog is freely roaming about, good luck!!! Once you have control, you’re in charge, and the dog knows it.

    You have to let you dog know when he/she does what you want. Dogs like to be Praised. When you ask your dog to do something and they do it, make a Big Deal out of and praise. Dogs naturally want to please their owner, and once they learn how to that, they will jump through hoops to please you.

    It is very, very important to start training your dog as soon as possible. If you just got a new puppy, start training immediately. It is easier to train a you pup, for example, then an adult dog. As a pup you are teaching behavior; as an adult dog, you are modifying behavior. And, modifying behavior or braking bad habits require more time and effort. As the saying goes “Old Habits Die Hard”.

      • Maureen
      • January 5, 2017
      Reply

      Hi SanShar Thank you for your comments. You summed it up quite nicely at the end by saying “Old Habits Die Hard”. Normally it is so much easier to train a puppy than an older dog. I have found when trying to teach a dog to come when called the older they get the more they develop the terrible disease of “selective hearing”. My own dog suffers from this with my husband. He can call her until he is blue in the face but she never seems to hear him. He walks her more than I do, he plays with her more but he also doesn’t put in place the simple steps to be the pack leader. Those steps when put in place will give you control.

    • Karl
    • September 15, 2017
    Reply

    Excellent article and you are soo right. You have to keep your cool when training your dog. I learned that lesson the hard way and it took me even longer to train because I had to undo my mistake. Dogs are such amazing animals! I agree with your last statement as well. Don’t let your dog become a statistic. Thank you for that awesome article!

      • Maureen
      • September 16, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for your remarks Karl.  I think we all make the mistake of losing our patience with our dogs.  We know that they know what we want but they just seem so stubborn about it.  That is the way I use to think about it.  Now I realize that becoming the pack leader is what it is all about.  If they trust you as their leader training just becomes a whole lot easier. 

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