Our obedience class trainer, Bob Minchella, teaches owners a consistent process of issuing commands that has been really helpful for us. I'm recounting it here, not because I expect anyone to memorize it and apply it (though I know some of you will), but because I think it is an interesting window into a dog's brain. Here's the process, which we follow every time, for recall (a.k.a., "Come!").
1. Give the command: "Satchmo, come!" Come is a position, seated and facing me. Running toward me, and then past me, does not count.
2. As soon as his butt hits the ground at my feet, "mark" the behavior. This means, essentially, say "Good boy!" The theory here is that you can't consistently give a reward with the correct timing, so you mark the behavior with your voice instead.
3. Reward! As Bob says, "with a treat the first bazillion times." As I consistently mark behavior with my voice and follow the mark with a reward, the puppy's little brain begins to associate the two, and after a while, I can phase out the treats.
4. Wait a few seconds. The dog needs to hold his position after the reward is issued. No fair sprinting off with that piece of hot dog!
5. Release. Say, "Okay!" Only then can he get up. If he gets up before he's released, he gets a voice warning ("Ah!") and/or a correction with the leash.