How Can I Train My Puppy to Come When Called?


Bringing a new puppy into your life is an exciting and joyful experience. However, it’s important to establish good training habits right from the start. One essential command every puppy should learn is to come when called. Whether you’re in the park or at home, having a reliable recall command is crucial for your puppy’s safety and your peace of mind. In this article, we will explore effective methods to train your puppy to come when called, ensuring a strong and reliable response.

Why is Training “Come When Called” Important?

Before delving into the training techniques, it’s essential to understand the significance of teaching your puppy to come when called. Here are a few reasons why this command is vital:

  1. Safety: A well-trained recall command can prevent your puppy from running into dangerous situations, such as approaching traffic or entering restricted areas.
  2. Off-Leash Freedom: When your puppy reliably comes when called, you can confidently allow them to explore off-leash, providing them with the freedom they crave while maintaining control.
  3. Bonding: Training your puppy to come when called strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion, fostering trust and a deeper connection.
  4. Social Interactions: Whether you’re at the dog park or on a hike, a reliable recall command allows you to call your puppy back, ensuring they engage positively with other dogs and humans.

How Can I Train My Puppy to Come When Called?

1. Create Positive Associations with the Command

Introducing your puppy to the recall command in a positive and enjoyable way sets the foundation for successful training. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Find a quiet and distraction-free environment to start the training.

Step 2: Get down to your puppy’s level and use an enthusiastic and inviting tone of voice.

Step 3: Say your puppy’s name followed by the command “Come!” For example, “Buddy, come!”

Step 4: As soon as your puppy begins to move toward you, shower them with praise, treats, and affection.

Step 5: Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the distance between you and your puppy.

2. Use High-Value Rewards

Rewarding your puppy with something they find highly valuable will motivate them to come when called. Consider the following rewards:

Treats: Use small, delicious treats reserved specifically for training sessions.

Toys: Some puppies respond well to a favorite toy being used as a reward.

Praise and Petting: Verbal praise, coupled with gentle petting, can be incredibly rewarding for your puppy.

Remember to always use positive reinforcement and reward your puppy immediately when they respond to the recall command.

3. Gradually Increase Distractions

Training your puppy to come when called in a controlled environment is just the beginning. To ensure a reliable response, gradually introduce distractions. Here’s how:

Step 1: Start training in a slightly more challenging environment, such as a low-distraction area of the park.

Step 2: As your puppy becomes proficient in responding to the command, gradually increase the level of distractions.

Step 3: Incorporate other dogs, people, or toys to simulate real-life scenarios.

Step 4: If your puppy gets distracted and doesn’t come immediately, gently guide them back with a leash or long line. Avoid scolding or punishing them, as this can undermine their progress.

By gradually exposing your puppy to different distractions, you’ll build their ability to focus on you and respond to the recall command consistently.

4. Avoid Using the Recall Command Negatively

It’s crucial to associate the recall command with positive experiences only. Avoid using the command when you’re about to do something your puppy perceives as negative, such as ending playtime or giving a bath. By maintaining a positive association, your puppy will be more likely to come when called willingly.

5. Practice in Different Locations

Training your puppy to come when called in various environments helps generalize the command. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Step 1: Practice in different rooms of your home, ensuring your puppy can hear you and reach you easily.

Step 2: Gradually transition to practicing in your backyard, where there may be more distractions.

Step 3: Move on to different outdoor locations, such as a local park or a quiet street.

Step 4: Continuously reinforce the recall command in different environments to strengthen your puppy’s response.

Remember, each new location presents unique challenges, so be patient and gradually increase the difficulty level as your puppy becomes more proficient.

6. Incorporate Recall Games

Making training sessions fun and engaging for your puppy can accelerate their learning process. Try incorporating these recall recall games into your training routine:

Hide and Seek: Hide behind furniture or a tree and call your puppy to find you. Reward them with treats and praise when they succeed.

Chase and Recall: Have someone hold your puppy while you run away. Then, call your puppy to come, rewarding them with treats and praise upon arrival.

Group Recall: Practice recall with other dog owners in a safe and enclosed area. Take turns calling each other’s puppies, creating a fun and social training experience.

These games not only reinforce the recall command but also provide mental stimulation for your puppy, making training an enjoyable bonding experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How long does it take to train a puppy to come when called?

Training time can vary depending on the puppy’s age, breed, and individual temperament. However, with consistent practice and positive reinforcement, most puppies can learn to come when called within a few weeks to a few months.

Q2: What should I do if my puppy doesn’t come when called?

If your puppy doesn’t respond to the recall command, resist the urge to chase them. Instead, try using a more enticing reward, such as a higher-value treat or a favorite toy. Additionally, evaluate the training environment for potential distractions and gradually reduce them as your puppy’s training progresses.

Q3: Should I punish my puppy if they don’t come when called?

No, punishing your puppy for not coming when called can be counterproductive. It may cause fear or confusion, making them less likely to respond in the future. Stick to positive reinforcement and focus on rewarding desired behaviors.

Q4: Can I train an older dog to come when called?

Yes, it’s never too late to train an older dog. The principles of positive reinforcement and gradual exposure to distractions still apply. However, keep in mind that older dogs may require more patience and consistency during the training process.

Q5: Are there any alternatives to using treats for rewards?

While treats are often effective rewards, some puppies may respond better to other forms of positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise, petting, or playtime. Experiment with different rewards to find what motivates your puppy the most.

Q6: Can I use a whistle or clicker for recall training?

Yes, using a whistle or clicker can be an effective way to communicate the recall command to your puppy. Pair the sound with a treat or reward to create a positive association. Consistency is key, so be sure to use the whistle or clicker consistently throughout the training process.


Training your puppy to come when called is a fundamental aspect of their obedience and safety. By using positive reinforcement, creating positive associations, and gradually increasing distractions, you can establish a reliable recall command. Remember to practice in different locations and make training sessions enjoyable through interactive games.

The bond between you and your furry companion will grow stronger as you build trust and communication. A well-trained recall command will provide your puppy with the freedom to explore off-leash while keeping them safe from potential dangers. Whether you’re in the park or at home, having the confidence that your puppy will come when called is invaluable.

Investing time and effort in training your puppy now will lead to a lifetime of benefits. So, start implementing these techniques and enjoy the rewarding journey of having a well-trained, responsive, and happy puppy by your side. Cherish the moments together as you embark on this training adventure!

Remember, consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key. With love, guidance, and the right training approach, your puppy will learn to come when called, enhancing your bond and creating unforgettable memories. Happy training! 🐾🐶✨


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Cat Hocking

Having had dogs all of my life I have learnt so much and continue to learn more with each individual dog that enters our family. These amazing creatures can teach us so much! In the Dog Care Guru I share information, resources and accessories for our canine children.

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