How to Get My Dog to Come When Called? Your Complete Guide to Dog Training

how to train your dog

You know those movies we all love when all hope is lost and our protagonists have been captured by the evil villain, but at the end moment, the trusty dog saves them somehow.  

Whether it is a dog superhero movie or real life, teaching your dog to come when called is a very important command to instill.

The curious nature of dogs may put them in a position where they need to be warned about a danger or called to you immediately for the same. In a situation like this, your dog not obeying your command can put them in harm's way. To avoid this, it’s essential to start training early on. 

We also highly stress using positive reinforcement instead of punishing to teach your dog anything. Punishments like scolding, hitting, or taking something important to your dog away from them, don't work in the long run. 

Whereas positive reinforcement like treats and showering your puppy with love not only strengthens your bond but also makes a lasting impression for them to follow your commands. 

So grab your dog's favorite treat ( lots of it! ) and get ready for an effective guide on how to train your dog to come when called every time!

  1. Practicing in a distraction-free and familiar environment:
  • Start by practicing in a place where your dog won’t be easily distracted and remain focused on you. Like inside your house.
  • It is important to use a high-value currency. Your dog’s favorite treats like boiled chicken, freeze-dried liver, beef, or jerky treats are all good options.
  • Use an enthusiastic and happy voice to call your dog. Talking in a high voice also helps get your pup’s attention. If your dog is more reserved and the high-energy approach isn’t working use a soft, gentle, and understanding voice.
  • Make training fun for them and shower them with treats and praise every time they follow a command or even show an inclination to do it but get distracted halfway through. 
  • If they come halfway to you and get distracted. Shorten the distance and keep training. Don’t be discouraged if your dog shows no response to your call. Move closer, dogs are more responsive to new concepts when we are close to them.
  • To make your dog listen when you call, practice calling them randomly and when they are least expecting it. Treat generously when they succeed. 
  • When your dog masters basic call it’s time to increase difficulty slightly. Call them with your back turned. Assume different positions (like lying down) to challenge them to think more and better understand the general concept.

Practicing in a slightly familiar but controlled environment:

  • This can be a place your dog has visited often but is a controlled environment with plenty of space. This is to ensure that when your dog gets too excited it can’t run far.
  • Start running as you say the cue word. Cue word is something simple like ‘come’ or ‘here’. Let them chase you. 
  • If working with a partner let one of you call your dog while the other tries to distract the dog by walking behind them and clapping lightly. This teaches a dog to come when called even when they find something distracting them to do so.
  • Let your dog go back to what they were doing before they came to you. Don’t add additional commands like ‘sit’. We want to make it for them to succeed.
  1. Practicing in a completely new and unfamiliar place:

How to make my dog come when called in a foreign place is something we all worry about especially since the environment is beyond our control. But with a little practice and lots of treats all dogs can learn this!

  • Let them adjust initially. To ensure safety and have control put them on a long lead. So your pup can still run around easily. Let them walk around the place, smelling the ground before starting your training. 
  • Remember to reward big as it’s a new environment. 
  • Play with them. Getting down to their level helps. The more embarrassed you are calling your dog the better job you’re doing. Use your whole body to interact with them. Mirror the excitement your dog so often has when they see you. 
  • Always remember to be extra patient. You can further up the difficulty level by adding mild distractions. When they continue towards you, reward big!

Once they become really good and develop reliable recall in even unfamiliar places, group together commands for their association. Like after making a dog come when called, ask them to sit and reward big when they do.

Some more tips for to train your dog to come when called every time:

  • It’s better to start training early. Training puppies has an advantage because they like staying close to you and haven’t hopefully developed the habit of running away from you. 
  • If your dog loves playing more than they like having treats, using squeaky toys to train with a great idea to not only catch their attention but to create a bond with them. 
  • Sometimes you have to make it easier for your puppy to succeed. 
  • Be very understanding of the fact that your puppy has only been on this planet a very short time. They’re already doing great with all that you’ve taught while being only a few months old. Appreciate all that they do and shower them with love.
  • You should also practice under different conditions. Like in the dark, during fireworks, or in the presence of other dogs. Reward big every time you change the variable.

That’s everything we have to share! We hope you found our guide on how to make your dog listen when you call useful. If you’re looking for the perfect treat for teaching a dog to come when called, check our dog-favorite treats here. Happy training!

Rocky Kanaka

Rocky Kanaka is an entrepreneur, pet rescue advocate and dog dad to a rescue boxer named Flip, a blind Cane Corso called Kobe, and a terrier mix named Zoey. He's also a pet chef and owner of The Dog Bakery, which specializes in dog birthday cakes and fresh baked dog treats. His three dogs can't get enough of the dog cakes and treats!

Lorna Ladd

Lorna Paxton Ladd is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast of The Dog Bakery. She loves spoiling her 3 rescue dogs with dog cakes and jerky. A 15 year veteran in the pet industry, her aim is to educate pet parents on the best recipes, products, tips and tricks to optimize the human/canine bond. Her favorite product at The Dog Bakery are the customizable dog birthday cakes.