Dog Training - 'Come' Command

The dog training 'Come' command (aka the 'Recall') is perhaps the most important obedience lesson of all.

But it can also be the most difficult one to teach!

Your puppy or dog needs to learn that when you say 'Come' he HAS to come, immediately.

He doesn't have the option of thinking about it, or refusing... if he thinks it's optional, you're in for a long, difficult ride!

There's one 'trick' to teaching your dog to come, and that is to make sure that you NEVER call your pup to come to you if you can't actually make him do it!

'Easy to say, not so easy to do' you might be thinking.

But it is fairly easy to do this, providing you pay attention and are very mindful when you're teaching the recall to your dog.

Until you've done some groundwork (and lots of practice) on the 'Come' command, you'll need to go TO your puppy instead of calling him to you.

This will prevent him from getting 'deaf' to the word because he's heard it a million times before he has any real idea of what it means!

Teaching Your Dog To 'Come'

Here's how to teach the Recall command in 4 easy steps.....

Print the steps by clicking on the button directly below them (*may not work with all browsers)

Practice this in a quiet area so that there are few distractions, you want 100% of Fido's attention.

When you're ready to begin you're going to need is a long dog training leash, a dog training tether cord or even a length of lightweight nylon rope.

  1. Attach this firmly to your pup's collar and then either go outdoors or into a room where there's plenty of space for him to roam around.

  2. Give him a minute or two to potty (if you're outside only!), then while he's busy sniffing and exploring call his name.

  3. When he looks up (your name recognition practice pays off here), crouch down, open your arms and say 'Fido come' in a happy voice... holding out a tasty treat doesn't hurt either.

  4. If he doesn't start moving towards you, or worse ignores you or walks away, repeat the command and give a gentle tug on the leash/rope to reinforce your point.

  5. When your puppy looks up to see why you're tugging on his collar, clap your hands, wave the treat... do whatever you can think of to encourage him to come to you.

    You probably won't need to repeat the tug-and-encourage routine more than a couple of times before your pup comes scampering up.

  6. When he gets to you, give him his treat right away and tell him 'good come'. Make him think he's been just the best little puppy ever!!

More Advanced Work On The 'Come' Command

To begin with you've just been praising your pup/dog and giving him a treat when he reaches you. But ultimately the aim is to have him come, then sit down quietly beside you.

This is simple to do....

When your pup reaches you, gently take hold of his collar and tell him to 'sit' (helping him to do it if necessary), then give him his treat and praise.


If you take Fido to formal dog obedience classes he will likely need to learn to come around behind you and sit neatly against your left leg (in the 'heel' position).

But for beginners, having him sit in front of you is fine.

Dogs are creatures of habit and once they learn something by practicing it over and over, it's hardwired into their brains!

Soon, he will automatically sit down when he reaches you, but always take hold of his collar before you give him your treat.

This way he won't get into the bad habit of getting his treat and then ducking out of reach and running off again. 

In dog obedience training, the come command is one that you'll need to practice over and over (and over) again, but it's totally worth the time and effort.

It's also one that takes time to be learned and obeyed regularly, probably because most of the time, Fido would prefer to be off doing something more exciting than sitting by you.

But, with lots of practice and patience, your dog WILL learn to come whenever you call him.

Once he's reliable about coming to you at home it's important to practice in other locations and with distractions other dogs, noises, cars and so on.

But always keep him on the leash or training cord because you don't want him to have the option of ignoring you (and consequently not coming), plus of course it's not safe for him to be off-leash out in the open and in public.

Practicing the dog training 'come' command in different locations and with different distractions is essential.

Your goal is to have your puppy come without hesitation, every time you call him, no matter where you/he is or what's going on around him.

Obviously this is a tall order and that's why it takes so much time and effort to get right.

Having a solid 'Recall' is important for a ton of reasons, and it can help keep your pup safe.

It could potentially prevent him from running into traffic, getting into (or out of!) certain areas, running off when you're on a hike, getting into a squabble with another dog or scaring the cat to death..... I'm sure you can come up with your own scenarios too, so you know what I'm saying :)

Step-by-step Guides For Training Your Dog To:

› The 'Come' Command

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