Training the recall command


The dog training come command is probably the most important obedience command you will ever teach your puppy or older dog. At some point in time you will no doubt rely on it to guide your dog away from serious danger.

Apart from being essential for safety reasons, when your dog has mastered the dog training come command he/she can be allowed greater freedom in many situations. Like when you are down at the beach or out walking your dog can go off exploring on his own but will always be alert and ready to respond to your come command. This gives all of us dog owner’s piece of mind and is very reassuring.

Your ultimate goal when teaching the dog training come command (sometimes called recall) is to receive an immediate response from your dog upon hearing your command, every time, regardless of what else is happening in the area at that time.

This type of response is not always easy to achieve. The dog training come command can take a lot of work, and the truth is that it is very difficult for some dogs to get 100% right. For certain breeds and dogs that love to chase or have a strong scent drive the come command is much harder to learn.

Don’t let this put you off though; you can succeed using the techniques outlined below. Basically you can teach the fast come command as soon as you get your new puppy (the earlier the better) or even an older dog, and you’ll be reinforcing it every time you are with your dog throughout his/her life.


  1. Never under any circumstances punish your dog when it comes back to you. Even if your dog seems to take an eternity to respond to you and you’ve got smoke coming out of your ears through frustration, it’s important that you don’t get angry with your dog. It’ll associate your anger with the last action he did – which was coming to you.
  2. Your goal is to make coming to you a more attractive option to your dog than any other alternative action.
  3. Never let your dog off lead in public before you have your dog responding very well to your come command.(and only ever in approved off lead parks) Your dog has to work his way up to this privilege.
  4. Your come command should be something your dog looks forward to hearing, something he has a positive association with. You do this by making it wonderful each time he comes to you, make it worth his while.
  5. Incorporate the come command training into your daily activities. Use it to call your dog over for his dinner or call him over at anytime just to give him a scratch behind the ear or a tasty treat. Then free him to play again.
  6. When you are teaching your dog the come command off lead and your dog doesn’t respond, don’t chase after him, first try waiting for him. If you do have to go and retrieve him don’t punish him when you catch up with him, just go home or start your training session again.
  7. As with all obedience training commands start your training sessions out easy, master one step then move on and build upon it. Challenge your dog along the way, but don’t move too quickly. Your dog will gain confidence all the way along this process.

I’ve found that if you apply repetition, reinforcement and patience to these training techniques, you and your dog will achieve great results. If at any time while working through these steps your dog doesn’t seem to be “getting it” just take it back a step and work on an easier level. Remember that training your dog is an ongoing process, continue to build upon and proof your good work each day.