Trainer shares their top three tips to get your dog to come when called

Dachshund running with ball in mouth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post shared below.

It's so important that your dog is able to come when you call them, but for many of our canine companions, this can be a huge struggle.

While it's easy to label our dog as being 'difficult', the truth is, stubbornness or deliberate disobedience is rarely the cause behind a failure to recall.

Instead, the reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable likely comes down to one simple fact — what's going on in their environment is more interesting than coming over to you when you call them.

With so many sights, sounds, and smells to explore, even the best behaved dog may struggle to come every time you ask them to.

Thankfully, Alex Sessa, the founder and head trainer at Peach on a Leash says that training a rock-solid recall is entirely possible.

Read on to find out three tips she shared in a recent Instagram post to encourage your dog to come when you call them...

1. Reward your dog and reward them well: "Often when we’re recalling our dog, we are recalling them away from something fun!," explains Sessa.

"The number one reason we see recalls fall apart is that they have stopped being rewarded, or they’re being rewarded with something the dog isn’t motivated by."

With that in mind, Sessa says it's important to use a high-value reward such as string cheese or cooked chicken. 

2. Give your dog feedback: "When you recall your dog, praise them, clap for them, encourage them, even if they’re not doing it perfectly," advises Sessa.

"We find that it can be easy to “freeze up” as we wait to see if our dog will come when we call them.

That freezing up can be confusing for your dog to interpret, resulting in them starting to come to you and then stopping partway."

3. Never punish: "Please, don’t ever punish your dog for a slow (or failed) recall," says Sessa. "If you do, you’ve taught them that ultimately coming back to you results in something unpleasant.

"Even if your dog doesn't get it exactly right, punishment should not be part of the equation."

Although all dogs are different, rewarding your pup well, praising them frequently, and avoiding punishment are tips that are likely to be highly effective with most of our canine companions when it comes to teaching this important skill.

And remember, training a solid recall takes time, patience, and consistency. If you feel your pup would benefit from some extra support in learning this skills, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer. 

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.