Training a Dog to Come is Easy

Elvis Elvis

Training a dog to come on command is extremely important. Many dog owners however, make mistakes when training a dog to come and only cause confusion. In order to be successful training the come command, it is important to understand how a dog’s mind works.

Understand Your Dog

Dogs live in the now, they are only concerned about what is presently happening to them. They won’t respond well if you punish them for something they did in the past, even if it’s only been minutes or seconds since the transgression.

With that in mind, a common pitfall to training a dog to come happens when a dog does something wrong. The owner angrily gives the come command, they obey and when they get there they’re scolded. The dog doesn’t understand that they are being scolded for what they did before obeying the come call, they only know they came when called and were punished for it. It’s no surprise that the next time they are called they won’t come or will do so reluctantly. Mistakes like this are very common and difficult to undo.

Another common problem is when a dog owner calls the dog over then gives him a bath or something the dog deems undesirable. The next time the dog is commanded to come, he knows something unpleasant is about to occur and may not obey.

You will have a much easier time training a dog to come if you avoid the come command when you are doing something unpleasant with the dog. Instead of calling him, find him and do whatever the unpleasant deed is. Keep in mind that anything which isn’t as fun as what the dog was previously doing will be considered unpleasant.

When you are training your dog to come be sure the dog comes all the way to you. You should be able to grab his collar and hold the dog every time. Don’t reward him if he comes then dances just out of reach. Only reward and praise him when you are holding onto the collar and are in control.

Training a Dog to Come is Easy

Training a Dog to Come

Teaching the come command can be started very early in a puppies’ life. It is an essential skill and should be taught thoroughly and completely. Start in a room with very little distractions. Put the puppy or dog on a six-foot leash and sit him down. The puppy doesn’t need to have the sit command memorized but it’s helpful.

Walk to the end of the leash. If the pup or dog comes to you before you call him take him back to the start and begin again. It’s okay to use the stay command while doing this, but this isn’t the focus. When the dog is sitting and you’re six feet away or so, say the dogs name and the come command. Use an inviting voice with some inflection. If needed give a slight tug on the leash to start the pup towards you.

It is not necessary to drag the pup or dog to you. Dragging the dog will be unpleasant and will be associated with the word come. If the dog thinks the come command means being dragged across the floor he will be harder to train.

If the pup doesn’t come with a slight pull go to him and start over. Don’t praise him or tell him it’s okay simply start over. The next time don’t go quite so far away. Use excitement in your voice and slap your thighs. Encourage the dog until he comes. If he still doesn’t come then start to apply some pressure on the leash. Don’t go to him but make him come to you. Once you have a hold of his collar, give him praise and a treat for his accomplishment.


Once the dog has that exercise down, add some distance. Once you’re confident the dog will come while on the leash take it off and try the exercise again. If the dog doesn’t come, immediately put the leash back on, and keep working.

Remember keep your training sessions short and fun for the dog. If it’s not going well save it for the next day. If you’re frustrated you’re dog will sense it and nothing productive will come from the session

You can increase the dogs’ excitement about coming to you by trotting backwards while the dog is running to you. Dogs love to chase it’s instinctual. If you can tap into that you will train your dog to come consistently and at a full run.

Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. Eventually you can go into a different room and call the dog. Before doing this you may need to work on the sit and stay commands.

Impromptu Sessions

You don’t need to do this training only during training sessions. You should call the dog throughout the day once you’re sure the dog will come.

This is important: don’t call the dog unless you’re sure he will obey your command. If you call the dog and he doesn’t come because of a distraction, and you can’t go out and grab him, he will learn that he doesn’t have to obey this command when he’s busy with something else. Only do the come command when you are sure you can enforce it.

Distraction Training

Once you’re confident your dog will come in a controlled environment with few distractions, start training him to do it when there are distractions. This is essential because this is obviously the time when you want the dog to come the most. A quick response to the come command will save your dog from getting hit by a car.

Take your dog somewhere with distractions, a park or a busy sidewalk, whatever. Keep the dog on a long leash, and go through the motions of calling the dog just like before. Try turning away from the dog and calling him. Have people stand between you and the dog and call him. This type of training is best if you use a leash or rope longer than 6 feet. Try many different situations until you’re sure the dog will come every time you call. Only when you’re sure should you take the leash off.

There’s nothing more frustrating and embarrassing than calling your dog over and over and have him flat out ignore you. Conversely, there’s nothing more satisfying than having your dog come running in every situation when called.