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 crucially importantHow well your dog executes the “Come” command can actually be a matter of life or death.

Someday your dog may get loose. It may decide to 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 back to you may actually protect your dog’s life. If your dog doesn’t have a perfect recall it might get hit by a car or hurt by a wild animal. For these reasons, the come command is one piece of the training puzzle that must be 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 at least 15-30 minutes before the 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 begin in a quiet place. A quiet room in your house where there are no distractions would be  best. Attach a leash and put your dog in a SIT 1-3 feet away. Using a favorite toy or treat, present it and call your dog’s name. When your dog moves toward you, reward it. Repeat this until the dog comes to you 100% of the time. Each time you get 100% compliance add another foot to the distance. When your dog is great inside, add a small distraction. (TV on, other people in the room, etc). When you have 100% compliance add more distraction. Then more and more.

When your dog is perfect inside, move the training to a quiet area in the yard. When the dog is at 100% with the leash attach a long line. A long line is a leash or section of rope. I use a 15 foot leash line and a 25 & 50 foot piece of nylon rope.

Moving The Training Outside:

Start by going to a quiet area outside. Repeat the above training. When your dog is 100% allow the dog to wander away from you. When the dog is out about 5-10 feet, call the dog excitedly making sure you are crouched down. If you need to, you can use a rope or long leash 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, a favorite toy or a small piece of treat. Repeat this procedure until the dog come to you every time without 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 ten feet, you can increase the distance by 5 feet or so. Each time the dog comes consistently from each new 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 will help the dog learn faster. The more short sessions you do each day will make a big difference on how fast your dog will learn. (See Also: 2-Minute Dog Training)

Off Leash Recall:

Start the Off Leash Recall training in a fenced in area. If your yard isn’t fenced you will need to find a area that is. Begin in a quiet area that has very few 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 necessary 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 around 2 to 5 minutes in length. Finish each session with your dog correctly doing a behavior.

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. Click Here to 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.”