How to Get Your Dog to Come When You Call?

Let’s look at how to get your dog to come when you call him. Most of us have an image of the dog on a tv show that immediately comes racing off from whatever he’s doing to come to the star of the show as soon as he’s called. What we often forget about is that these dogs have had hours and hours of training over the course of days or weeks!


Don’t despair! You too CAN get your dog to come running to you when you call him. Here are some hints. First, don’t call him to “come” if it’s for something that he doesn’t like. For instance, he may hate having his nails clipped. You may have to go to him to do it, or you may leave the nail trimming up to someone else. Second: do get a batch of super treats. With your dog next to you, let your dog sniff the treats and then toss one underhand a few feet away. Your dog will run to get it. Say “good boy”, (or girl), show your dog another treat and when he comes running to you give it to him right away. Toss another one for him to go and eat, then make a sound to get his attention and give him the next treat as soon as he comes to you again. Pretty soon he’ll see that even though he’s getting a treat a few feet away, there’s another one waiting when he comes back to you. The happier you sound when he’s coming back to you, the more reinforcing it is!


Now that you’re making progress, here’s the next step. Once he’s eagerly going back and forth, go a few feet further away. After he goes for the tossed treat, say “Come”, and give lots of happy praise. Once he turns and comes to you give him the surprise. Instead of giving him only one treat, give him several treats one at a time quickly, and with each treat tell him how great he is. This is called “jackpotting”. It’s as if your dog is playing a slot machine and gets a big payoff when he comes back to you. Be sure to use treats that are super to him, such as really smelly cheddar string cheese, or pieces of yummy chicken. No everyday dog kibble!!! Remember, this is the start of a great recall. (Recall means coming to you when called.) Eventually, start calling him from another room. Do this just for a few minutes so that it will be really exciting. Remember to jackpot. Practice this as a fun activity during different times of the week, but try to do it where there is no other action going on near you and your dog. This is part one. Look for more info. on how to build his recall.

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