Teaching Your Dog To Come On Command

By Michael Albee

Teaching Your Dog To Come On Command

Teaching Your Dog To Come On Command is critically importantHow well your dog executes the “Come” or “Here” command can actually be a matter of life or death. Some day your dog may get loose, or chase after a critter, another dog or even one of the neighborhood kids. The “come” command may be the only thing between you and the dog. Being able to call your dog and make it come back, may actually protect your dog. If you can’t, it might get hit by a car or hurt by a wild animal. For these reasons, it is crucial that this training is successful.

A strong recall is based on the relationship you have with your dog. Training your dog to “Come” when you call it begins with the foundation you created during the Bonding Process.  The trust and respect you created between you and your dog will greatly help with the training process. Keeping positive associations with the command, like lavish praise and using high value treats will also help. 

Training this behavior takes time and it require a lot of patience. The amount of time it takes will depend on your dog’s energy level and the level of it’s pray drive. We also advise that you exercise the dog for 15-30 minutes before training begins. This will help burn off some of the dog’s extra energy.

Teaching Your Dog To Come On Command


To begin teaching your dog to Come on command you will need to have a 25-50 foot piece of clothes-line rope or the equivalent. It might also be best to do this outside unless you have a big house!

Attach the rope to the dog’s collar and allow the dog to wander away from you while you hold the other end of the rope. When the dog is out about 10 feet, call the dog excitedly making sure you are crouched down. If you need to, you can use the rope to give a little tug so the dog will start moving toward you. DO NOT pull on the rope, just give it a little tug to get the dog coming toward you.

Pulling the dog toward you is not going to teach the dog anything. It can actually make the dog NOT to want to come to you. 

When the dog comes to you, give it lavish praise and a small piece of treat. Repeat this procedure until the dog come to you every time with having to be coaxed or having to have you tug on the rope.

Increasing The Distance:

Now that your dog is coming to you from about 10 feet you can increase the distance by 5 feet or so. Each time the dog comes consistantly from each distance you can increase it another 5 feet or so.

You can also work indoors on those days when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. When the dog is away from you, simply call it to you and reward it with treats and praise when it comes. 

Working on this several times a day, it might take a week or so to get your dog to secessfully recall from the end of the 50 feet rope every time. 

Off Leash Recall:

Continue reinforcing the “Come” command on the rope. But you can now start working on the dog’s “Off Leash” training. 

Start the off leash training in your yard when it is quiet and when you have very few outside distractions. Early mornings always work best for me. The off leash training should be just like the on leash training. The only thing that will be different is that the rope is gone. 

Remember, you MUST be patient. Don’t forget to praise and reward your dog. It may be nessessary to work in shorter distances when you begin working off leash. Your dog will tell you that very quickly. Sometimes it is helpful to go back to “On Leash” training if your dog doesn’t respond well at first.


As with all training, keep your sessions short. Training sessions should be kept under 10 minutes in length. Finish each session with your dog correctly doing a behaivor.

Always do something that your dog likes to do when the session ends. Playing with the dog’s favorite toy or going for a walk will keep your dog interested in training. Because there is a “fun time” following the training, it will make the dog more willing to train well.


There are several variations of this training that will get the same results. If you need help teaching your dog you can contact us and we can give personal instruction. Contact Us.

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“Adopting just one dog will not change the world, but the world will surely change for that one dog.”