How do you train a puppy to come when you call, i.e., a reliable recall? Well for one, you start by calling the puppy to you thousands of times over the first year of its life. You reinforce with a food reward 90% of the time or more.

You never call the puppy to you for anything unpleasant, like a bath or a nail trim. You never call the puppy when you are angry.

When the puppy comes, you take hold of its collar and then give it a treat. And then, almost always, you release it to run and play in the yard or do what it wants in the house. Then the puppy, and later the grown-up dog, absolutely cannot think the response to “Come” means the fun will end.

It is true that once in a while when you call the dog to put on its leash, you may ask it to do something it may not want to do. But as long as it is released nine times out of 10 for fun, it will continue coming back to you. A dog raised like this is a dog that wants to come when you call.

Reliable recall may save your dog’s life, if it wanders too close to the street, or you see danger that they do not, having them come when called is a great way to protect them.

(Christine Bane is the author of this tip)

Puppy Rocky in obstacle course
Dog walking on beach