Recall Training

To teach a good recall your dog needs to learn, that coming back to you is always a good thing, something that will bring her/him plenty of praise and rewards.


Choose a special word or sound as your recall cue that you use ONLY when you want your dog to return. It should be short and sharp, for example a verbal cue like ‘come’, or a whistle. I have found that a whistle can work particularly well.

Start in your garden or another enclosed space with some tasty treats in a pouch or your pocket. If you need to, get your dog’s attention with his/her name, then use your recall cue and take a step away from them. As they return to you reward with praise and a tasty treat.
Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog and the level of distractions you call them away from.

Always use a harness with a long line to walk your dog on during training. Let them move away from you before using your recall cue, if they ignore you, very gently guide them back to you with the long line and reward them once they are with you. Make a big fuss of them and reward with a high value treat when they return. You want your dog to learn that coming back to you straight away is much more rewarding than ignoring you and continuing their fun running around!
Think about how you sound and appear to your dog when you call them. Use a happy, excited voice and welcoming body language (crouched down, arms open) to train recall. Moving back from them as you call can encourage them even more.

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If they ignore you, stay calm, getting angry or shouting will only discourage them from returning to you. Instead, gently guide them in with the long line, or go and collect them. Never punish them if they fail to return.
You can play the recall game at home too, by calling them from room to room, use your whistle and don’t forget the praise and treats. You are continuously building up the bond between you both and constantly improving their recall.
When you feel confident that their recall is good then choose a quiet and safe place, perhaps your back garden or an enclosed space that is large enough (always keep safety in mind) and now use your recall without the training lead.

Try to keep it fun for both of you! Always praise your dog for coming back no matter how long it takes and reward them even more if they come back quickly. As they improve you won’t need to give them a treat every time, they come back but reward them every so often to keep them motivated. Set your dog up for success by initially training in a quiet place when they are already looking over at you, and gradually increase the level of distraction as they improve. Make recall a fun part of the walk, not just something you do when its home time. Do this by calling them back then allowing them to go and play again several times during a walk.


Making Recall fun using a fun recall game to get your dog to come when called If you’re interested in training your dog to come to you when they are called, one way to teach them is to play the Recall Game. This training game is played with two people, one hungry dog, one 6-foot leash, and plenty of high value treats. Practice the Recall Game on and off leash inside, on leash outside, off leash outside in a confined area, and then ultimately on and off leash with distractions when your dog is ready. Here are the steps to follow when playing the Recall Game: Find a partner and sit on the floor 6 feet apart, facing each other. Have your dog in a sit position to start with. Call your dog by saying “Name? Come,” and use the leash to guide them to you. When they come to you, give him/her a treat, and praise them enthusiastically. Pass the leash to your partner, who says, “name, Come,” guides the dog in, gives them a treat, and praises the dog. Work through these steps until your dog responds on their own to being called and no longer needs to be guided to you with the leash. At that point, you can start increasing the distance between you and your partner (up to 25 feet). You also can begin playing the game from room to room in your house. Remember to use High value rewards. And PRAISE!!! If your dog is not coming back to you then we must go back to stage one again and refresh. Remember some dogs learn quick and some are going to take a little longer. Its worth putting the effort in now, your doggie is going to be with you for many years and a good recall apart from making walking more fun may save your dog from a potentially dangerous situation.
When you feel comfortable using the long leash now is the time to go out to an open space where there are distractions!! This is where I always advise a whistle. Still use the long leash for the initial sessions. It shouldn’t be long before you can take a deep breath and unclip the long leash! Now instead of calling your dogs name for the recall you are going to use the whistle. One or two short sharp blows on the whistle should be enough to bring them back for their treat (high value!) and lots of praise. Please do not over use the whistle. Calling a dogs name over and over quickly becomes utterly meaningless to the dog, the whistle is one of your most valuable tools treat it like gold!! As your dog’s name should be. Dog training should be fun for both you and your dog, don’t over train, your dog will become bored and unresponsive, you will become frustrated and the training session will end with all being unhappy. Keep session relatively short, fun and often. As with all training it can take time and certainly patience, however. Keep it fun and enjoy having the well-behaved dog the I am sure they will be.