As a dog owner, there is nothing more satisfying than recall, calling your dog and watching them run as fast as their legs can carry them to get to you. In the obedience training world, a recall is the ability to have your dog come to you on command. A reliable recall is the ability to have your dog come to you every time you use the command. This would mean off-leash and with distractions. A reliable recall is known to be one of the most difficult behaviours for a dog to learn, but it is definitely worth your time and effort as it could one day save your dog’s life. We can help you teach your dog a reliable recall by providing tips on how to accomplish this daunting task while making it fun and easy.

Be Fabulous! Make it Worth your Dog’s Effort

  • Be animated, excited, and loud! Your dog should think you are the best thing since sliced bread and that they need to get to you as quickly as possible.
  • Use whatever motivates your dog to work. Some examples are treats, favourite toy or game, praise, etc. Each dog is different, so identify what your dog will work for, and when.
  • Set your dog up for success. Making the task within reach for your dog will encourage them to learn.

Build Up to It

Start in a distraction-free environment, preferably:

  • Inside the house
  • Backyard

Then proceed to new environments, such as:

  • On a leash walk
  • A long lead at the park
  • Off-leash, using caution
  • Add distractions like noise, other dogs, people, etc.

Lost a Recall Behaviour?

There could be a number of reasons your dog disobeys the recall command. Perhaps you have not been so fabulous, or every time you use the command it is followed by your departure. Your current cue could have a negative association for your dog. Re-teach the behaviour using your new cue (eg. “here” instead of “come”)

Practice, Practice, Practice

In order to maintain a solid recall it is necessary to practice the behaviour for the rest of your dog’s life. When learning a recall you should practice 50 times a day, but once a solid recall has been established you want to practice to maintain the sharpness of the recall. Never lose your enthusiasm with the recall. Even years after establishing the behaviour, make sure that every time you give the command your dog will think “I better get there quickly because my owner is one big party animal!”

    – Tracy