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How to train your dog to come when called

To teach your dog to come back to you,  you must learn to be more exciting than the rest of the world!

This is a really important behaviour to teach your dog because it helps to keep them safe and means they can enjoy and benefit from exercise off lead. 

Teaching your dog to come to you in six easy steps

  1. You need an incentive to encourage your dog to come back - a really tasty treat or a fun game with a toy. Show your dog the toy or food.
  2. Run away a couple of paces then call your dog's name and say "come" in a friendly, exciting tone - getting down low can also encourage them to come back.
  3. As your dog comes to you, gently hold their collar and either feed them the treat or let them play with the toy.
  4. Gradually increase the distance that you are from your dog, until eventually you can call your dog in and out of the garden or from room to room.
  5. Ask a friend or partner to help take it in turns to gently hold your dog's collar whilst the other one walks a distance away and then calls the dog over. (Don't forget to praise the dog each time this is a success.)
  6. Once your dog is consistently coming to you when called around the house and garden you can start to practice in safe outside spaces. Long training leads can be helpful for practicing recall when outside as they allow your dog some freedom without giving them complete free-range at this stage.
Irish red setter and owner outside

Extra tips

  • Only call when you are going to praise your dog - do not call your dog and then tell them off as it means they will be less likely to come back next time you call.
  • Don't only call your dog to put them back on the lead - they'll soon make the association and be reluctant to come back.
  • When practicing this command on walks, always take your dog's favourite treats and toys with you so you can continue to reward him when he comes back.

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