There are lots of reasons why you would want to train your dog to come. The main reason is for their own safety. If your dog is off the lead, then you want to know that when you call them they will return to you.
Having an obedient and well-trained dog means that you can enjoy the time you spend with them without feeling frustrated when they do not come when you call them.
When Should You Train Your Dog to Come?
Training your dog to come when you call them is one of the first things that you should train your dog to do. It’s likely that if you have a puppy they will naturally follow you around the house.
Therefore, during these early weeks, you can start training them to recognise their name and coming when you call it.
How to Train Your Dog to Come (Recall Tips)
There are 2 stages to training your dog to come. Firstly, you should do the training in a quiet confined location. If you have your dog off the lead, then you want to be sure that they cannot run off!
Once you feel confident that their recall is good you can start to practice in an open space where there are more distractions.
Always start this training in a quiet area with no distractions.
To get your dog used to coming when you call them, every time they are walking towards you then call them and reward them with a treat, a toy or lots of fuss (each dog will respond to different rewards). This level of reward gets them used to the idea that coming to you is a good thing.
Gradually make that distance from you larger when you call them and again reward them. As you practice this you should start to see that they are recognising you calling them to come.
Once your dog is regularly coming to you then enlist a friend or family member to practice your dog’s recall with you.
Note – It’s important that the dog knows the person and is comfortable with them.
Stand apart from each other and each practice calling your dog to come. Always have treats to reward them each time they come to you.
Keep repeating this process with your dog, although not too many times in one day. You don’t want your dog to get bored of the training.
Some trainers will advise you to add a hand signal when you call your dog to come. This can be good for your dog to recognise when they can’t hear you if you are at a noisy location.
Simply combine the hand signal with calling the dog and repeat the process until the dog will come without you calling them.
It’s important not to rush to step 4 until you are confident of your dog’s recall ability in an enclosed area.
The next step would be to take your dog to a park and practice the techniques with them.
I would recommend choosing a quiet park at a very quiet time, to begin with. A secure park is even better.
Use the same techniques that you have previously been using and practice in small bursts of time.
What Not to Do When Teaching Your Dog to Come
Never shout at your dog when they don’t come. Reward based training relies on your dog being recognised for the good things that they do.
Don’t spend hours training your dog all on one day. Break it up into small sessions and have fun.
Why Won’t My Dog Come for Me?
Your dog may have ingrained resistance if they are an older dog and, in that case, they can take much longer to train.
They may be tired of being trained and need a break.
There may be too many distractions and you need to go back a step and practice more in a distraction-free area before bringing them outside.
They might be starting to realise that every time they are called it’s time to go home. Make sure this isn’t the only time you call them. Dogs are smart and will start to make their own decisions about when their play time is over! If you think this is happening them call them and then let them go back to play a few times during your training.
Videos Resource to Help You
We found a few Victoria Stilwell videos to help you when training your dog to come.