I want to teach my dog to come when called. What’s the first step?

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Teaching a dog to come when called is one of the most basic and important commands that a dog can learn. Dogs need to learn to come back to you when called, so that you can steer them away from dangerous situations, and so that they may experience greater freedom off a leash. A dog that learns to come when called will always be alert for your voice and your command, and ready to return to you when needed.

The first step to getting your dog to come when called is to start when your dog is a puppy, if possible. Understand that a dog has no knowledge of what commands actually mean, so you’ll need to be patient, repetitive and consistent. Start by having your dog come to you when you say “come” by luring him to you using a food reward. Use the command “come” throughout the day for activities that your dog naturally does, like walking towards the door for a walk or approaching a food bowl for a meal.

Never punish a dog when they come to you, as he will learn to associate the “come” command with punishment. The act of coming when called should always be positively reinforced with praise or food. Have your dog come to you in comfortable situations so that the action of coming to you is friendly and pleasant.

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