Majesty Dog

Mastering Recall Training: Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

The Importance of Recall Training for Your Dog

As a dog owner, one of the most important skills you can teach your furry friend is to come when called. Not only does it make your life easier, but it also ensures your dog’s safety.

Whether they have run off chasing a rabbit or have wandered into a dangerous area, being able to recall your dog can save their life. In this article, we’ll go over some tips and techniques to help you teach your dog to come when called.

Can You Teach a Puppy to Come When Called? The answer is yes, you absolutely can teach a puppy to come when called.

In fact, puppyhood is the perfect time to start recall training. As with any other behavior you’d like to teach your puppy, positive reinforcement is key.

Treats and affection are great motivators for puppies. You can start by calling your puppy in a calm voice and rewarding them with a high-value treat when they come to you.

Gradually increase the distance between you and your puppy, and continue to reward them for coming when called.

Retraining with a New Command

If your dog has learned to associate “come” with negative experiences, such as being scolded or put in their crate, it’s time to start fresh with a new command. “Here” or “come to me” can be used instead.

It’s important to avoid using the word “come” if there’s any chance your dog won’t come the first time you call them. This prevents them from getting used to not coming when called.

Creating a Trained Response

For a recall to be reliable, it needs to become an automatic response. This means that when your dog hears the recall command, they immediately stop what they’re doing and come running to you.

There are several stages to recall training that contribute to creating an automatic response, such as ensuring your dog understands what’s expected of them and reinforcing the behavior with treats and positive feedback. Choose your Cue!

The recall cue can be a verbal command, a whistle, or any other sound that your dog associates with coming when called.

Whistles can be particularly useful for training because they carry farther than your voice and are easier for your dog to hear. Whatever cue you use, make sure it’s consistent and that everyone in your household uses the same one.

Stage 1 Get It! – Making Recall Fun

In stage one of recall training, the goal is to make recall behavior enjoyable for your dog. You do this by motivating them with high-value treats and making it into a game.

When your dog is not focused on you, call their name in a cheerful voice and get their attention with a treat. When they come to you, give them the treat and praise them.

Continue to do this often, in different locations around the house and yard, gradually moving farther away from your dog.

Common Mistakes at Stage 1

The most common mistake in recall training is to bribe your dog with treats to come to you. This actually hinders the process because your dog is not learning to come when called but is instead learning to come for the treat.

Also, don’t train in an environment that is too distracting for your dog. Start training in a calm, quiet area without many distractions, and gradually work your way up to more challenging environments.

The Importance of Making Recall Fun

If your dog associates coming when called with negative experiences like getting scolded, they will be less likely to respond. Therefore, it’s essential to make the experience of coming to you enjoyable for your dog.

When they come to you, give them plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of treats, praise, and affection.

Retraining to Make Recall Fun

If your dog already has a negative association with coming when called, you need to retrain them to associate it with positive experiences. Start by creating new opportunities for them to come when called and reward them with treats and praise.

Over time, your dog will learn to associate coming when called with happy experiences.

The Benefits of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in recall training. When you give your dog treats, praise, and affection after coming when called, they begin to develop a positive association with the behavior.

Positive reinforcement motivates your dog to repeat the behavior, making recall more successful and reliable.

Training Your Dog to Come When Distractions are Present

It’s important to train your dog to come when called even when distractions are present. Start by training your dog in a calm, quiet environment, then gradually increase the level of distraction.

When you’re training your dog with distractions, keep them on a long leash and use high-value rewards like treats or toys to keep their attention.

Common Mistakes at Stage 2

One of the most common mistakes at stage two is not being consistent with rewards. If your dog begins to realize they only get treats when there are no distractions present, they’ll be less likely to come when called in a challenging environment.

Another mistake is using negative reinforcement, such as scolding your dog when they don’t come when called. This can create negative associations with recall and make your dog less likely to respond in the future.


Recall training is an ongoing process that requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Start training your dog from puppyhood and create an automatic response to the recall command.

Always ensure that your dog associates coming when called with positive experiences and gradually move to more challenging environments. With practice and patience, you’ll be able to rely on your dog’s recall behavior in any situation.

In conclusion, recall training is an essential skill for every dog owner to teach their furry friends. Positive reinforcement is key throughout the training process, starting with creating a trained response and choosing a reliable cue, to making the experience of coming when called enjoyable.

Training in increasingly challenging environments, ensuring consistency in rewards, and avoiding negative reinforcement are critical for shaping reliable recall behavior. By following these tips and techniques, dog owners can ensure their dog’s safety and improve their quality of life.

Remember, recall training is an ongoing process that requires patience and dedication, but the payoff is well worth it.

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