How to Train a Dog to Come (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Discover how to train a dog to come on command, a quick guide for new dog dads or seasoned pros.

How to Train a Dog to Come (A Step-by-Step Guide)
Photo by Nathalie SPEHNER / Unsplash

As a dog dad, you know that training your dog can be a challenge. But it's also one of the most rewarding things you can do as a pet parent.

When your dog finally learns to come when you call them, it's a feeling of pure joy.

But getting there takes time, patience, and consistency. And I'm here to tell you that there is hope.

In this blog post, I'm going to share with you some tips on how to train your dog to come.

These tips are based on my own experience as a dog dad, that worked for me, so I can guarantee that they will work.

Start in a quiet environment

When your dog is first learning, it's helpful to start in a quiet environment where there are few distractions. This will help them focus on you and the task at hand.

Start with the basics

The first step to training your dog to come is to make sure that they know what the word "come" means. You can do this by saying the word "come" and then giving them a treat.

Once they associate the word "come" with a treat, they will be more likely to come when you call them.

This applies to most training by the way, food is the ultimate prize for dogs. Food = Yum!

Use a high-value treat

When you're first starting out, use a high-value treat that your dog loves. This will help them associate the word "come" with something they love and they'll be more likely to come when you call them.

Start with short distances

Once they've associated the word 'come' with yummy treats, the next step is to get them to actually move towards you.

Start by calling your dog to come to you from a short distance. Just a few paces to begin with.

Then gradually increase the distance as your dog learns to come when you call them. Don't get carried away with this phase. One small step, one giant leap for dog-kind!

Eventually, you'll be able stand out of sight and call your dog by using the come command.

Be consistent

One of the most important things to remember when training your dog is to be consistent. This means using the same word, the same tone of voice, and the same rewards every time you want them to come.

If you're not consistent, your dog will get confused and they won't know what you want them to do.

That doesn't mean saying 'come here', 'here', 'come' interchangeably. They just won't get it.

Make it fun

Training your dog should be fun for both of you. If you're not enjoying yourself, your dog won't either. So, try to make the training sessions short and positive.

I like to train first thing in the morning, and just before their dinner too. You can even use their dinner kibble as treats, instead of eating out of a bowl!

But always end on a good note, with your dog getting a treat or some praise.

Be patient

Training a dog takes time and patience. Don't expect your dog to learn how to come overnight. You've got to imagine your pup is like a baby, it's absorbing everything, but processing just 10%.

Just keep practicing and eventually they will get it.

Don't give up

No matter how frustrating it may get, don't give up on your dog. With a little patience and consistency, they will eventually learn how to come when you call them.

There are still days when my Bulldog doesn't come when called - it makes you feel defeated at times, but you've got to keep at it.

Final thoughts

Teaching your dog to come on command might save its life one day. That's why it's one of the 7 basic dog commands you can learn.

Hopefully you've learned something from this post and you're able to apply to your own situation. Let me know in the comments how you get on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to train a dog to come?

I've found the best way to train a dog to come is to use positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise.

How long does it take to train a dog to come?

The amount of time it takes to train a dog to come will vary depending on the individual dog and their level of motivation. Teaching my Bulldog to come was quick, but if I found if I wasn't consistent for a few days it was like taking a few steps backwards.

What are some common mistakes people make when training their dogs to come?

I learned the hard way, these are the mistakes I made:

  • Not using positive reinforcement.
  • Being inconsistent with the training.
  • Not using a clear and concise command.
  • Giving up too easily.

What are some tips for training a dog to come when they are distracted?

  • Start in a quiet environment.
  • Use high-value treats or praise.
  • Be patient and consistent.
  • Practice in different environments.

If you are having problems training your dog to come, it is important to consult with a professional dog trainer. They can help you identify the specific problems you are having and develop a training plan to address them.