Trainer reveals the secret to getting your dog to come when you call them, and it all comes down to timing

A Welsh Corgi dog happily gazes up at its owner while running on the beach on a sunny afternoon
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're anything like most pet parents, getting your dog to come when you call them may feel like a challenging mission some days! 

There are lots of potential reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable. Even armed with the best dog treats, there are so many tempting sights, smells and sounds for your pup to explore that sometimes they may not be as obedient as you'd like them to be.

But according to expert dog trainer Adam Spivey, there's a common mistake we can make with our dogs that can reduce the likelihood that they'll come when called. So, what is this mistake and what can you do to solve for it? Read on to find out... 

"Most of the time, we only call our dog when something exciting is going on," explains Spivey. "A dog has just appeared, a person has just appeared - so the association to your dog is you're constantly trying to call them when there's a competing motivator."

What Spivey isn't suggesting is that you don't call your dog during these times, however, he does advise practising calling your dog when these competing motivators aren't present if you want to improve their recall. 

"If we called our dog every couple of minutes, particularly when there's nothing going on, gave them a handful of treats, let them go back out and play, the dog would understand that coming back to us doesn't necessarily mean end of fun. Coming back to us is a good thing and then they get to go back and play," Spivey says.

Practising this regularly with your dog will help massively when there's a competing motivator that you don't want them to engage with. And if you're after more great training tips, our guide to how to stop a dog from jumping up has got you covered.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.