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One of the most important things you can do is teaching your dog solid recall.  This command can actually increase your dog’s safety and possibly save his life.  But how do you teach a reliable “come” command to your dog?  In this article we will tell you how you can teach your dog a reliable recall in 3 easy steps.

Helpful tips for teaching your dog to come when called:

Always have treats with you!

A few things to keep in mind before you start to teach your dog the recall.  Keep your pockets full of tasty, smelly treats.  You want to make sure that you reward your puppy when he comes when called.  This will motivate him to come to you each time that you call him.

Keep training sessions fun.

Always keep training sessions fun and positive. Use an upbeat and fun tone to your voice when calling your dog.  Something to avoid…never punish your dog when he comes to you, even if he did something wrong before coming to you.  Punishing him will only teach him that it is not good to come when called and that is the last thing that you want.

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Do not repeat the command.

Do not keep repeating the command.  This will only teach your dog to ignore the command and that he doesn’t have to come to you the first time that you call him. 

If you call your dog and he does not come to you, simply go to your dog or if outside, pick up your dog’s leash and reel him in to you.

Keep training sessions short.

Keep your training sessions short!  5 minutes here and there throughout the day. Do not keep continuously calling your dog to come to you.  If he’s playing, call him to you but only once in a while. When he comes, reward him, if not, go and get him.  Training for too long or continuously calling your dog, will result in him just learning to ignore you.

Reward positive behavior.

If your dog is off leash, either in your home or outside and he “checks in” with you, reward him.  So, if he is off playing and decides to come to see you on his own, reward him even though you didn’t call him.  This will teach him that it is beneficial for him to check in with you, which will also be beneficial to you when you are teaching him to come when called.

Simple Step By Step Instructions On How To Teach Your Dog To Come To You When Called:

Step One:

The first step to teach your dog a recall, is to practice in a low distraction area.  Choose a room in your home with very few distractions.  When you see your dog coming to you, say “come” and reward him with a treat.  At first, he can be very close to you when you call him but once your dog is consistently coming to you when called from a short distance away you can gradually increase the distance.  It is important to always use the same command so that your dog can learn that this is the word that you will use when you want him to come to you.  Dogs need consistency, especially when it comes to teaching a really reliable recall.

You will need a 30 foot dog lead, we recommend this one.

Step Two:

Once your dog is consistently coming when called indoors, you can move your training to a low distraction area outside.  Start in your yard with a 30ft lead attached to your dog.  When your dog is not distracted, call him to come to you.  If your dog comes to you, praise him and treat him right away.  If he does not come to you, walk towards him, picking up the end of the 30ft lead and reel him in to you.  Repeat the exercise, making sure that your dog is paying attention to you before calling him.  Be exciting and fun so that your dog wants to come to you. Praise him and treat him when he does come to you.

Step Three:

Next, move to a fenced in area with some distractions.  Keep your dog on the 30ft leash just in case he gets distracted.  When your dog is looking at you, call him to come to you.  If he does, praise him like crazy and reward him with a treat.  Once he is reliably coming when called, remove the lead. Repeat the exercise and praise when he comes to you.  If he does not come to you, go get him.  It is important not to chase him, though, as this can become a fun game for your dog.  Put the lead back on him and repeat the exercise, reeling him in if he doesn’t come.  Once your dog has a reliable recall in the fenced in area, you can move outside of the fenced in area and repeat the steps using the long lead at first and then gradually removing the lead.

Once your dog is consistently coming to you when called, you can give him a bit more freedom.  But training the recall is always something that you will want to work on and practice occasionally throughout your dog’s life.

Teaching a really reliable recall will be a lot of work and will take a lot of time and dedication but it is so totally worth it in the end.  Not only does it increase your dog’s safety but also allows him to have more freedom and not be on a leash all the time when outside.

How has teaching your dog a reliable recall improved his life? Let me know in the comments below.

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