Coming When Called

Having an effective recall is important for the safety and welfare of your dog, but is often the most struggled with. If yelling and running after your dog as he gallops into the sunset sounds familiar, read on.

Teach Them The Word

You need to set up for success, so don’t start recall training in a high traffic area, where distractions abound. Start at home. Giving your dog the tools to be successful is the very first step in training.

You need to teach your dog a definitive ‘come here’ command. Choose a word, and stick to it, whether it’s ‘come’ or ‘here’ is not important, as long as it’s always the same. Sometimes saying ‘come’ and sometimes saying ‘come here’ is not going to work.  Do not use their name, they need a different word, for clarity.

Begin by saying the word in a fun and exciting tone, around the house. When your dog approaches to see what’s going on, reward them with a treat or game. They’ll soon get the hang of it, and begin racing over as soon as they hear the word ‘come’. This is what you want – a dog that loves to come back to you because it means good things are happening.

Out and About

Once your dog is reliably coming when called at home, you can start to move it outside. Have them on a long lead at first, so that you can enforce the command if you have to.

Brings lots of toys and treats – using a treat pouch can make things easier and keep your hands free. As soon as they respond to your command, respond with as much excitement as you can, and reward them heavily.

Try not to call them when they are heavily engrossed in a game or smell – they are unlikely to respond, it is setting them up to fail and it may actually cause them to associate “come” with actually not coming. Instead, wait until they are finished, and then call them.

Always reward

If over time you begin to drop the toys and treats, and only call your dog when it is time to go home, they are going to begin to associate coming when called as a negative thing again. Instead, call them to you regularly during the walk, and then let them back out into the park as a reward.

Keeping It Going

They should occasionally get a toy or a treat when they come back for the rest of their lives. This keeps them listening, in the hope that this time might be the time with a treat!