Teaching Rover to Come When Called

One of the most important commands you can teach your dog is to come when called.

Unfortunately, it is the one command that has the most failures.


Mainly because of some mistakes we make when training our dogs to come on command.

If we have taken the time to teach our dogs the basic sit and stay commands, but they do not respond during times of distraction, we cannot expect them to come when called.

A dog that has had some training, but does not always follow commands will not even think of giving up its fun of running free, just because you called.

So lesson number one is basic training and obedience, when distractions are present.

Next, you need to build a positive relationship with your dog. You need to practice calling your dog when it is outside and rewarding it lavishly with praise and a “good” treat not just an old biscuit.

It is important that your dog thinks of the word “COME” as fine dining and not as just a regular old treat. Cheese, a piece of hot dog or a piece of raw meat is a great enticement to come when called.

If you are in the habit of calling your dog to come, in order to do something that he/she does not like, such as being put in the crate or stopping playtime, nine chances out of ten you are going to have some trouble getting your pet to respond on cue.

This is where creative thinking comes in.

If it is time for you to leave for work or whatever and you need your dog inside give yourself a few extra minutes with the dog.

Call your dog, but do not immediately crate him/her or stop the fun it was having. Have a few treats or a toy handy and take a minute to create a short bonding experience that is pleasurable, then proceed to do the task that is needed.

The short interlude with the treats or toy will remove the stigma from the dog’s mind of the thing the dog did not like.

Should your dog run off and not come back, when you called and called, but finally returned. DO NOT punish your dog or scold it.

Instead offer treats and “good dog” praise.


If you scold, hit or punish your dog in some way, it will associate you calling it to “come” with bad treatment. No one likes to be treated badly no matter how naughty we are and neither do dogs.

Using the reward system builds a feeling of trust between you and your pet. Your dog has to feel safe when it comes to you.

If your dog fears punishment, even a stern lecture, it will not come to you until it is good and ready.

Training your dog to come when called is one of the most important commands you can teach your pet along with sit and stay.

These commands can save your dog’s life in a tense or dangerous situation.

Many a dog that has been hit by a car could have been saved if only its master had taken the time to teach it to “come” when called.