Specific Puppy Challenges

How to Train a Puppy to Come When Called: The Ultimate Guide to Puppy Recall


How To Train a Puppy To Come When Called: The Ultimate Guide To Puppy Recall - Read more at kaufmannspuppytraining.com @KaufmannsPuppy

My Puppy Does Not Come When Called – How Can I Train This?

No matter how and for what reasons you have a dog, there will be times when you need total control. You need to be able to trust your dog to come when you call her. A dog that doesn’t come when you call her can be annoying and even create a life-threatening situation. Occasionally, you must call your dog because she needs to get away from something dangerous, like the road or another animal. for these reasons, you must know how to train a puppy to come when called.

Although you can choose to never let your dog loose or to only let your dog loose at a dog park on a leash, this is not a desirable or long-term solution. Dogs can get loose from their leash, escape a car or yard, or run outside when someone leaves a door open. Instead, imagine how good you would feel if you could to take the leash off your dog and let her run free in the park or on your walks.

Knowing you can call your dog off anything and never be scared she’ll cause trouble, runoff, or be the cause of a car accident is not only rewarding, it’s priceless. Being able to train a puppy when called is not only convenient, it’s a lifesaver.

Training a reliable recall is something I have spent years perfecting. In this post, I’ll share my knowledge with you, making it possible for you to learn how to train your dog to come every time you call. This way you can give your lovely pet the freedom she deserves, knowing you can still protect her.

Why You Must Train a Puppy to Come When Called

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Here’s the bottom line: when you train a puppy to come when called, you will be able to do so much more with her. By making sure your recall is effective, you’ll be a responsible dog owner. You give your puppy the opportunity to have a lot of fun and get plenty of exercise for optimal health without the danger of hurting herself or others.

Remember, many fun outdoor activities that help exercise your dog depend on your recall being strong and swift. Dogs that do not get enough exercise will have too much energy. Eventually, she’ll use it, often unwisely. Not having been able to let out steam, your puppy become frustrated and react – perhaps on your carpet or your new shoes.

However, this is often what happens when you are afraid your dog doesn’t respond when you call her. Because you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you may need to call your puppy, you may not want to take her out as often as you and your puppy would like. And, even if you do, you probably resist taking her off the leash and that’s a shame.

You will both miss out on fresh air and healthy exercise, as well as creating fun times and memories. Keep reading to learn how to train a puppy to come when called every time.

What My Brittany Hunting Dogs Have Taught Me

I have trained recall more than anything else with my prize-winning Brittany hunting dogs. They are the type of dogs who stand completely still and point when they find birds and I do hunting dog competitions with them. The purpose of these competitions is for testing the dog’s hunting ability.

We do this by showing how fast the dogs can run across the fields. We also see if they can use their noses correctly by turning up into the wind in a certain way. Of course, they also must show they can find and point out the birds while they follow precisely so close, the birds don’t run or fly away, but rather stay still.

The reason I’m telling you this is because, in these types of competitions, you can’t keep your dog on a leash. You must let your dog run free. The dog must find and point out the birds for me to find – just as if we were out hunting. So, in this sport, the dog needs to run far away from you to find the birds. They also need to run hard and fast to win competitions.

If you can’t train a puppy to come when called, you can’t win in these competitions. But much more importantly, if you can’t trust your dog to come when you call them, you risk losing your dog forever. It might get killed in traffic going after a deer or it might not be able to find its way home. The first point on the hunting competition is annoying for a competitor like me. The latter point involving danger is unbearable for me as it is for all dog lovers.

For these reasons, I’m sure you can understand that having a reliable recall is crucial to me. It is something I have spent years learning to perfect and I’ll share all my best tips with you, so you’ll know how to train your puppy to come when called.

Training Recall: The Road to Success

In my opinion, here is the one road to success: Teach your dog an extremely strong habit. But, unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to do this. To build a strong and powerful habit, you must call your puppy to come to you successfully so many times, she doesn’t think at all before coming to you.

This means you’ll need to call your dog to you many, many times and in all kinds of situations and always with success. It is something that you’ll need to practice over and over again. You should keep going over these steps long after you think your puppy is fully educated to keep them on point.

Remember, you must be consistent and patient to train a puppy to come when called efficiently. You must never call your puppy and accept it when she doesn’t come. When you call and your puppy doesn’t come, wait for her. If your puppy forgets you and ignores your call, you must go get her. You may have doubts your puppy will come, so don’t call her unless you can catch her without a chase. You can do this by using a leash or a long line of a sort, but remember, it must never be a game of catch. Also, you must never drag your puppy back to you. Instead go closer to her and give the line a soft jerk to remind you that you actually did call 🙂

Most importantly, never, ever call your puppy without celebrating when she obeys. If you forget this your puppy will not know that what she just did was the right thing to do and perhaps next time you call she’ll try something different – it could be not coming…

Shaping this habit is hard work. It will not always go as planned so to keep you on track I’ll share with you the background; why all this work is necessary, what you’ll gain from it and most importantly – how to do it.

Why Dogs Don’t Always Come When You Call Them

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So, why do dogs not come when you call them? Is it out of spite or to make you look bad? No, dogs don’t have a grand plan. They just want to be where it is most interesting for them – no more, no less. To know how to train a puppy to come when called, you need to understand how she learns first.

Dogs lean on past experiences when they choose their behavior. They get their experiences by simply trying. So, if they come when you call, but what you offer them is not as good or perhaps even worse than what they had to leave behind to come to you, they’ll ignore you the next time.

Of course, this will happen even faster if you always call your puppy when she’s playing. It will also happen when you call your puppy, but not always make sure she responds appropriately. This will create a situation where your puppy learns she doesn’t always have to come when you call her – so she will only come when she wants to.

How to Train a Puppy to Come When Called: Creating the Right Conditions 

When you chose your puppy, you didn’t just choose a breed. You also chose a breeder. Good breeders start the job of getting your puppy ready for the big world. They will make sure to introduce your puppy to as much as they believe your puppy can handle. A good breeder also starts the important work to train a puppy to come when called.

Puppies learn quickly that good things happen to them if they come when the breeder calls. After all, the breeder is the person who serves food many times a day. For this reason, when I have a litter of puppies, I call them using a dog whistle every time dinner is served. This video demonstrates out how quickly puppies learn to associate calls and commands with positive things:


When you get your puppy home from the breeder, you take over that responsibility. Your puppy is going to learn many basic, new commands in her first months with you, but none as important as being able to train a puppy to come when called. This is not only the most important command but also the hardest one to achieve consistent success with.

You must understand that your puppy will always choose to seek out the most interesting thing. To make her come to you, you must make sure that you are the most important and interesting thing for your puppy.

In the first months, this is relatively easy as your puppy’s world is small and her curiosity is not yet fully aroused, but this will change. Suddenly your puppy will want to go out on adventures and start exploring the big new world around her. By this time, it becomes more difficult to be the most important and interesting aspect of your puppy’s life.

So make the best of the early days and make sure to prepare yourself for the situation to come. Don’t let this lack of interest in you, compared to when the puppy was young, discourage you. You must understand that training a puppy to come when called, you both have to go through a process.

You must search for small improvements, not perfection when you train a puppy to come when called. You must remember always to be patient, as well as consistent. These are the most important skills you need in order to train your puppy to become a superstar.

And last, but not least, you must remember to never, ever scold your puppy when she comes to you after you have called her. No matter how long it takes, even after a long detour, several stops to sniff something, or running off for a while, reward your puppy when she finally comes to you. You might decide to go and get your puppy yourself, but never ever scold her if she comes when you have called her, no matter how long it takes.

The reason this is so important, is because scolding your puppy for coming will create a negative association. Your puppy does not know that you are scolding her because of her detours. She will believe you are scolding her for coming to you. No matter the circumstances, you want to avoid this at all costs because once that happens, it is extremely difficult to train it away. Always make coming to you a positive and interesting experience for your pup.

Create a Training Plan Before Bringing Your New Puppy Home

How To Train a Puppy To Come When Called: The Ultimate Guide To Puppy Recall - Read more at kaufmannspuppytraining.com @KaufmannsPuppy 

Having done all the above, you now have the perfect conditions for training your new puppy. What easily happens though, after all the careful planning outlined above, is that you get your puppy home and you start a new daily life with her. You start potty training, how and when to feed her etc. 

All is good in the world, but time flies. And suddenly you realize your puppy has developed habits of her own. To avoid falling into this all-too-common trap, start planning how to teach your puppy to come – even before you get your puppy home. Create a policy to train your puppy every day, as this is a part of caring for her.

To create the best training plan, you ask yourself the following questions on how you want to train your puppy:

  • How do I keep the training fun
  • How often do I train and with whom?
  • What do I need to train first?
  • How do I reward?

How do I keep the training fun: There are many aspects that are important to consider when creating a training plan, especially when you want to train a puppy to come when called. But the most important one of them all is to plan for joy and excitement in every exercise you introduce to your puppy.

Training should be fun first and should educate second. To reach this goal, make sure to dynamically update and evaluate your training plan regularly. Keep in mind that puppies develop quickly. This means you can’t simply have a static training plan to use when your puppy is eight weeks to when she reaches a year.

Adapt your training plan to your puppy’s growth, so it will reflect how your puppy is able to stay focused longer. This means your training plan must change every month or two, which also helps keep training interesting.

How often do I train: Make sure to schedule your training. You must train every day 5-10 minutes at least 2-3 times a day, so when is the best time of the day for you and your pup? Do you need to get up 10 minutes earlier? You may need to spend less time on social media or watching television. Find a way to put the time aside to train your puppy every day.

Evaluate your plan every month. Did it go as planned or do you need to change something? Has the puppy learned what you expected or do she need more practice? Should you be adding more distractions to your training?

How To Train a Puppy To Come When Called: The Ultimate Guide To Puppy Recall - Read more at kaufmannspuppytraining.com @KaufmannsPuppy

What do I need to train first: To train your puppy, the first thing you must have in place is to have your puppy’s attention on you always. So, when you create your plan, include the exercises described in this blog post

How do I reward: Using positive reinforcement training means you also need to decide how to reward your puppy.  Always praise your puppy when she makes it right using a certain word or a clicker. Emphasize your praise with eg Dog cookies or dog biscuits or other eatable treats almost always work with puppies. However, a variation of playing games, praising your puppy and using treats is preferable.

If you are afraid of your puppy gaining weight from eating treats during training, buy low-fat treats. Another way to avoid weight gain is to divide your dog’s main meal into two separate bags. Then, simply keep one of those bags in your pocket for training purposes during the day.

Use the most delicious treats when you challenge your puppy in your training sessions. For this to work, it is important to make sure that your puppy knows you have the treats before starting the training.

As mentioned, it is important to encourage your puppy to play with her favorite toys with you. The reason for this is that not all dogs are motivated by food. Also, if you only have food as your sole motivator, you will not be able to motivate your puppy when she’s not hungry. You will also be in trouble if you don’t have any treats with you.

Not all puppies love to play with toys, but you can work on this. If your puppy does not like toys, you must keep searching for the right toy and note what she likes to play shortly with for herself. Is it your old sock, a ball or maybe your shoe? Is it fur from a fox, or a squeaky toy?

When you think you have the answer, buy or make a toy with all the right ingredients. Next, don’t give the toy to your puppy, but play with it yourself in front of her. Be sure to exhibit great excitement and loud joy. I know this might sound foolish, but hang in there – this is important for what comes next.

Even if your puppy now desperately wants to play with you do not let her. Put the toy away for the first few days without letting your puppy have it. When you feel your puppy’s interest in the toy has grown enough, let her have it – but only for a second or two. Then, take it away and play with it by yourself again – and remember to enjoy it loudly.

In the next couple of days, allow your dog to have the toy for a short time, but always only together with you. If you lose interest in the toy, so will your puppy. After a week or so doing this, the toy is ready for you to use as a reward for when your dog comes when called.

How to Discipline Your Puppy Using Positive Training Methods

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What do you do if your puppy will not come to you? Your puppy never deserves to be scolded, and you must never, ever hit your puppy. Instead, show your puppy you are less than pleased by putting on the leash and taking her straight to her crate without talking. You can also choose to do nothing while ignoring your puppy. In terms of being an effective owner of your puppy, you must also be calm and in control.

Remember, whatever you choose, decide what it will be before you are in the situation. The best way to avoid scenarios where your puppy doesn’t do what you want is to simply set her up for success. The only way to do this is by slowly and gradually increasing the difficulty of your training. Controlling the level of difficulty in your training makes it possible to design success for your puppy. It will help build that positive habit, making it easier to train a puppy to come when called.

Since this is a process you must design to get the best results, having a training plan is beneficial.

My Overall Training Plan – Start at Once and Start Inside

To train a puppy to come when called, it is crucial to start at once and start inside to control the environment and limit distractions for her. As I have said before, all dog training requires patience, consistency, and repetition. You must repeat, repeat, repeat and remember, one thousand repetitions will still not be enough

Begin as soon as you bring your puppy home, indoors where you can have some privacy and control the environment. Call your puppy many times a day. It easy to call her for meals, but also in many other situations of contact.

Make sure your puppy is not occupied by something else when you call. You want to set her up to succeed, so you can reward her and reinforce the behavior. Celebrate when your puppy comes to you to make it worth her while.

Use Audio and Visual Cues When Training Recall

Make it easy for your puppy to understand what you want. Use her name just once. Never call twice as this teaches her that you’ll call again so she does not have to react on your first recall. Also, you can use a dog whistle in combination with her name, if you want. After a few weeks also wave your arms over your head when you call. You might think this will confuse your puppy, but actually, this will support her. Because in this way, you make it easy for your puppy to either hear your voice, your whistle or see your arms moving above your head.

This way, you can train a puppy to come when called, even if she’s far away or for some other reason unable to hear you. It is important to do all three things at the same time when teaching the signals with the arms in the air, so your puppy can quickly learn what it means.

To teach your puppy that you can call and she should come in many different situations you must call your puppy while in different places inside your home. Catch her attention first before you call her name, so you’ll be sure she’ll come.

You can catch your puppy’s attention in many ways. Make a loud noise, bang on the wall, clap your hands, or do something else to make your puppy curious. When her attention is all on you, call her and celebrate when she comes to you. You should understand that when you call your puppy, you often interrupt her from doing something else. But, in the beginning, when you are still in the center of her world, your pup won’t mind.

However, as your puppy grows older and the world expands, this will change. So, keep in mind that if you call your puppy away from something exciting, coming to you may feel like a punishment, no matter how you reward them. Of course, you should still call your puppy, but make it a habit to let her go back to whatever she left right away. This way, the interruption is only brief as you offer a treat, so it will be a tasty time-out from whatever has caught her attention and because you let her go back, she has not missed out on anything.

When Your Puppy Refuses to Come When Called

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If your puppy doesn’t come the first time you call, you should fetch her. Calling her again will probably have the same outcome, but what’s worse, your puppy might get used to you calling her many times before she thinks she has to listen. This is a behavior you absolutely don’t want, so when she ignores you – and this will happen occasionally – you must fetch her. Here’s how:

  • Gently take your puppy by the collar and lead her away from what is distracting and a bit closer to you.
  • Now go halfway back to your own starting point and try calling your puppy again.
  • If she still ignores you, repeat the steps above, bringing her even closer.

To easily train a puppy to come when called, it’s vital you and your dog experience success. It is also vital to remember that training is a process, so you don’t lose your head. Remember the most important rule: Be patient and consistent.

First Challenge: Go Outside and Repeat While Slowly Adding Distraction

When your puppy comes every time you call, you are now ready to add some distractions. The first distraction is simply taking your puppy outside. Because dogs have no logical sense, they don’t automatically know the definition of “come” in the house also holds true outside. So, take your puppy outside in the garden or somewhere else outside where there is not too much going on. Be aware that a puppy will easily get distracted while outside. Here are some tips to counteract that tendency:

  • Call your puppy at the best times. Look for opportunities, like while your pup is heading your way, when startled by a noise and looking for your support, or when she looks to see where you are for any other reason.
  • Create moments for success. Don’t call when your pup is investigating the grass or a new flower in the garden. Wait for her to lose interest, then call her at the precise moment she is not occupied by anything, but listening to you.
  • Play hide and seek to train your puppy to pay attention to you. Instead of always looking for your puppy, train her to keep an eye out for you. Do this when your puppy has settled but before your puppy becomes too self-confident. Encourage your pup to look for you by hiding and waiting for her to find you. Make sure she can’t hurt herself or get lost before you “disappear.” Don’t call your puppy when you are hiding. Let her find you on her own. It’s likely that she’ll be a bit scared to be left alone, but do not come out unless she is very upset. Letting her feel how awful it is to lose you will teach her to keep a better look out for you in the future. And do remember to celebrate when found!

How To Train a Puppy To Come When Called: The Ultimate Guide To Puppy Recall - Read more at kaufmannspuppytraining.com @KaufmannsPuppy

Play Chase to Build a Powerful and Fast Recall

When you train a puppy to come when called outside, it’s time to use your puppy’s natural instincts: All dogs and puppies love the chase. Imagine if your puppy wants to come to you as bad as she wants to chase a car, rabbit or a cat – that would be an awesome way to keep her out of trouble and away from danger.  This will happen if you use this drill:

  • Wind your puppy up, holding her back an arm’s length away from you to show her that now you are going to have fun.
  • Then run away from your puppy while calling her name.
  • Run away with your back turned or else it is not a proper chase.
  • When your puppy finally catches up with you, make sure to celebrate.
  • Make it even more exciting by having a friend hold your puppy back as you get a running start. Make him hold around her shoulders and not the neck. When you feel you are at the right distance, call out her name and have your friend let go.
  • Your puppy will now hunt you down and you can reward her for coming – because you called her.

Remember, even if someone is holding your puppy before you run along, you still need to get her excited. If you don’t, your puppy may not want to chase after you, which is the main point of this game.

You can use the same principle if your puppy is a bit slow to come when you call. Simply start running away from her. Soon you’ll see your puppy chasing you, which is fun for you both. At the same time, it will make you succeed more often.

Not only does this take your puppy’s well-being into account. You also need to have fun or else you will find as many excuses as you need to skip the training. You can’t always run when your puppy has to come to you, but remember you are building a habit, so all tricks are allowed and remember to show your puppy how much you love her for coming.

Another way to make your puppy come is to go down on your knees when you have called. Stretch out your arms as to welcome a long lost son. When she comes to you, cuddle her and play with her. What if you get knocked over? It’ll only make it more fun for your puppy. More fun means it is more interesting for her and you want it to be more interesting because our puppy will go where the most interesting things happen.

In this video, you can see how I use my body language to make my young dogs come to me after a “stay.” Notice how their mother just toddles around, not paying attention to my commands, but stays close to get her share of the cookies. This is the benefit of growing old and being spoiled 🙂

As you can tell, I don’t mind if my puppies knock me over. I like them to be super-excited about coming back to me. You don’t have to get so carried away; however, you must show your puppy you love her for coming back to you in a way she can both feel and understand. And it has to be real – your puppy will know if you fake it.

Second Challenge: Adding Distance and Distractions 

When you feel confident with the above activity, you must seek out even more distractions. The open field or the dog park is calling. But, before you enter these, here’s a word of warning: Be aware while in the dog park, if you know you can’t call your puppy you should keep her on the leash.

Your puppy must never get the impression that she doesn’t have to come when you call. But, you must challenge your puppy to keep things interesting and to grow the habit so it will eventually be so strong that your puppy will come even if she is very distracted. So, if your recall not only works in your home but also outside in quiet spots, the open field or the dog park can be the next thing to try.

Make sure to choose a time with a few dogs in the park. This way the distractions are not too overwhelming the first time you go there. Remember to aim for success by building up your puppy’s confidence, as well as the strength of the habit, because you want your puppy to succeed.

Training in the presence of others can bring a lot of distractions. So, you must be alert when you do this and always be ready to divert your puppy’s attention. You want your puppy to focus on you and your commands, even if a squirrel or dog from next door tempts her. For this to happen, you will most likely have to demand your pup’s attention. Use known exercises and keep your dog engaged and busy working with you.

Also, you can keep your puppy on a long leash, making it more easy to “grab” her by the collar from the distance. Remember you must NEVER drag your puppy back to you but you can use the leash to “grab” your puppy by the collar from the distance, bring her a bit away from what is keeping her from listening to you and then call again. If you now succeed make a huge celebration and immediately after this let her go play or whatever was occupying her before. If not, bring her a bit further away from the interesting spot until you succeed.

If possible, control the surroundings so there will not be a more interesting place than being with you. For example, if the dog next door is in the dog park, make an agreement with your neighbor to control their dog. If your puppy doesn’t come when you call but instead wants to play with the dog from next door, your neighbor should quietly take his dog outside your puppy’s range. 

Since there’s no more fun to be had there, your puppy will probably come to you. When this happens, you must offer praise and repeat.

At some point, your puppy will learn that she might as well come the first time. It is important to praise her and offer a treat. Then, immediately let your puppy go to play with her new buddy. This is part of the reward

Keep teaching your puppy new things. Keep working with your puppy, as this is an important key to success. This will get your puppy used to listening to you and it will ensure she pays much more attention. In effect, these other training sessions will indirectly end up helping your recall.

Puppy on Pause – Another Tool to Control Your Puppy at Greater Distances 

If you want a strong recall, even at greater distances, expand how you train your recall by introducing other commands. Personally, I find the down command useful in my recall training, as I practice it at a distance.

Since the down command is easier to have your puppy perform perfectly, even at distances, this essentially helps you control the training environment. As you have seen throughout this post, training a reliable recall is all about controlling the process and working at it strategically.

Once you get to the advanced stage with longer distances and more distractions, being able to control the environment in the form of the down command is helpful. This way, you can stop your dog when they don’t listen, as you can teach and repeat this command endlessly, anywhere and anytime. This command basically means stop, so it can become a reflex for your puppy or young dog to stop them from running off.

How to Teach Down and Stay Commands for Reliable Recall at Any Distance

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Practice down and stay commands by teaching your puppy down using the word “down” and immediately afterward, use the other end of the whistle, or you can make another sound whistling. At the same time, you signal “down” with your arm stretched out and the palm of your hand towards your puppy as if you are making her lie down with your will – like a Jedi.

In the beginning, your puppy will lie down in front of you, but you want her to be able to do this at a distance. So, to add distance, you first need your puppy to be able to lie down alone. For this reason, you should practice the stay command.

You do this by getting your pup to lie down. Give her praise and a treat for this. Now while she is occupied by eating the treat you say “stay,” keeping your arm stretched out and the palm of your hand towards her – like above. Quickly take a step away from your puppy and an even quicker step back to her. When this work you add the period of time you stay away and when that works you add distance. Here are some additional tips:

  • Did your puppy stay still? If so, praise and reward her genuinely. Keep practicing until she stays for longer times.
  • Did your puppy move? If so, take her back to where you started and do it again, but faster.
  • Go back to your puppy in the beginning. Even when your puppy figures out what this is all about, you must always go back to her for a while. Avoid calling out to your puppy as this will create the bad habit of running to you before you want her to. Knowing the next step can tempt your pup to start towards you. Make her stay and walk back to her. Ask for a sit and then offer lots of praise.
  • Use a mat or rug. To help your puppy learn faster, put a mat on the floor or ground for her to lie on. It makes it easier for you to see if she moves away from the spot you told her to stay at. It also makes it easier for your puppy to see how special the spot is that you have pointed out for her to lie on.
  • Rinse and repeat. Do this a thousand times and practice regularly to review.

Once Your Dog Knows the Basics: Adding Strangeness and Distractions

Do not add distance at first, but strangeness. Walk around your puppy instead of away from her. Play ball in front of her, and make it even harder by dropping delicious food just outside her reach.

When your puppy can stay for this, take her outside to practice, as well. You should do this a lot when you are just beside them. When you have no doubt your dog will do what you ask, add distance.

At first, add just a couple of meters, then increase it slowly to 10, 20 and 30. Build it up, slowly but surely. When this is working, you can call your puppy instead of walking back to her. But more importantly, now you can ask your puppy to lie down at a distance, as well.

Simply ask your puppy to stay when she starts coming towards you. The first couple of times, ask when she is just a few meters away. Next, add distance and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Beside training this, you also have to train your puppy to come to you, many times a day, every day. But don’t worry, your puppy will love to work with you and she can easily handle two different exercises a day. In the end, your puppy will lie down when she hear the whistle, even if she is not close to you. Do you want to see for yourself? Look here:


Notice how I have also taught my dog to change direction when I use a long tone in the whistle. This is also a way of controlling the environment indirectly, like with the down command. Even if your puppy doesn’t come all the way back to you, you can stop her from going further away. Because you are not stopping her from running free, your pup will be more likely to obey.

The change in direction will, at some point, bring your puppy closer to you and make it easier to call her all the way home. No matter what, it is easier for your puppy to make the right decision and come when you call if you are closer.

What It All Comes Down to When Training

If you are consistent and patient and remember training is a process and repeat, repeat, repeat, you will succeed. I will not lie to you; this is extremely hard work. But there are no shortcuts if you want a puppy and dog that comes to you whenever you call.

Your puppy is going to be your best friend for many years to come and she is well worth the investment. The way you train your pup now will determine how your life together will become. With recall training, you will have freedom and balance for your dog. Without it, you will experience frustration with both yourself and your dog.

Use the tips here, and put in the necessary work. This way you and your dog will live your life together to the fullest.

I hope you have found value in this blog post. If so, be sure to share and please comment to let me know how you liked it.  Also I would love if you would share your best tips to make your dog come to you to make it even better. 

Thank you 🙂



Is it possible to make all dogs 100 percent trustworthy?

Yes, but not all humans can do this and less might also be okay for you. But to answer the question, yes, it is possible for all healthy dogs.

How do I get my puppy to focus on me?

You must always get excited when your pup chooses to come to you instead of going her own way and you must always show her. You might need to give treats once in a while, especially if this is what your puppy is used to respond to. But also your puppy loves playing with you. It can be in the living room or in the park, it does not matter, you just need to kick a ball with your feet or throw her favorite toy.

How do I keep it fun?

Engage! You get as much fun as you give 🙂 

How do I keep my puppy close?

As explained earlier, you want to make it a habit for your puppy to stay with you even when they are off the leash. You can do this by calling your puppy occasionally. Do it in the right situations when your puppy is not too engaged in something else and still not too far away. Make a huge celebration when she returns to you. I use a nickname for my Luca. When I just want her to come closer I call LULU. If I want her to come all the way back to me I call LUCA.

What is an E-collar and can I use it for recall training?

An E-collar is a remote dog training system that usually consists of a wireless remote and a wireless receiver. The remote has different functions based on the model that will send either a tone, vibration, or a stimulating sensation to the dog.

The point of using an E-collar is that you can discipline your dog at a distance, reminding them to behave. In my opinion, an E-collar can be a possibility if you understand how it works and knows how to use it properly.

This is important though: you must know how and when to use it.

As always it is key to discipline your dog at the precise moment of behaving badly. If you miss the moment, even by seconds, you risk disciplining your dog for something completely different than you intended. And this way, you can also do a lot of damage with an E-collar. Remember you are far away from them.

If you want to try an E-collar, get help from someone you trust and who knows exactly how to use it. Used properly, it can be a tool in your toolbox, along with all the above. But for most dogs, a collar like this is not necessary and is too much of a risk to use.

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  1. Jessica Doucette

    June 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

    My dog is not a puppy, but an almost 7 year old dog. Is he too old to train to always come? I live in fear of him escaping the house off leash because he does NOT come when called.

    • Lene Kaufmann

      July 21, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Jessica! First of all, sorry for the delayed answer! Summer, you know 🙂

      But to get back to your question and the simple answer: No. It’s never too late to teach an old dog “new” tricks. But the older the dog, the more difficult. And the more patient you need to be. And perhaps you also need to be less ambitious in your recall-training and instead of only relying on this also teach him not to run out of an open door…
      I think I would teach him two things

      1) NEVER to run out of the door. You know, teaching him always to “stay” when you go to the door and never ever letting him go out the door without him sitting and waiting for you to tell him to go out. For inspiration look at my blog post about how to get your puppy’s attention: https://www.kaufmannspuppytraining.com/how-to-get-your-dogs-attention/ Actually, I believe that attention is the key to most dog training so if you have not read this post, please start there

      2) Teach him to come when called in all situations – remember to start in a very low distraction area.

      Please let me know how it works out for you!

    • Lene Kaufmann

      July 21, 2017 at 3:41 pm

  2. Ivory

    June 26, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Great articles here on your site; I’ve been training dogs all my life, but there are still methods I’ve tried and haven’t been successful with… the articles have helped me adjust my understanding! Your advice is very balanced!
    Getting a new puppy in a few weeks, and I’m excited to start working with her.

    • Lene Kaufmann

      July 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, I’m very glad you like the articles. As it has been some weeks since your comment (sorry for this!) you might already have a new puppy? Can we meet her in here? 🙂

  3. Barb

    January 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    I love you post, very helpful.
    My dog is a 3 yr old German Shepherd/Husky mix. She’s beautiful and smart. I didn’t have trouble with her recall until my daughter moved in with her two dogs. They come when called just fine. Do you think she’s overwhelmed or jealous? I try to love on her as much as possible, though I don’t play with her as much now because of the weather, any suggestions would be great!

    • Lene Kaufmann

      January 31, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Thank you so much, I’m glad you liked it.
      Your dog might be jealous and maybe she has found out that staying away gives her your attention. However, this is only happening because her recall has not become strong enough. So I would recommend you to train recall again with no other dogs involved. Just you and her. And be there, be interesting, praise and reward her for coming to you and play with her when she does. When she responds well to your training and is coming every time you call, you can use your daughters dogs as distractions, making her recall even stronger. But make sure to train only her, even when the other dogs are around. Good luck!

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About Me

My name is Lene Kaufmann and one of my biggest passions in life is dogs and dog training. I’m a professional dog trainer, having personal offline courses in Denmark where I live, as well as writing this blog, making online courses and online coaching to help train puppies and puppy owners all over the world. My training philosophy is using positive choice based training methods to make your puppy regard you as the most important in life. I believe that dogs can be the greatest source of happiness and fulfillment, and it all starts by building the right foundation with your young puppy. I would love to help you do this!