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  • Writer's pictureChristina Hale

Mastering Recall: A Guide to Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

Updated: Apr 17

Are you tired of chasing your dog around the park or worrying about them darting off when off-leash? Teaching your dog to come when called, also known as recall, is an essential skill that can enhance safety and strengthen your bond with your furry friend. With patience, and consistency, you can train your dog to respond reliably to your recall commands.

golden retriever running

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you master recall training:

  • Start Indoors: Begin recall training in a quiet and familiar indoor environment where distractions are minimal. Choose a time when your dog is calm and focused, such as after a meal or playtime.

  • Establish a Recall Word: Choose a specific word or phrase, such as "come" or "here," to use as your recall command. Consistency is key, so stick to the same word every time you call your dog.

  • Build Engagement with your dog: It is important to harness your dog’s engagement through engagement games, and building a trusting relationship with your dog. Reward for eye contact and check ins, make it fun by having them chase the treat in your hand, or play with them.

  • Use a Reward system your dog loves: Whenever your dog responds to the recall command by coming to you, reward them with praise, treats,  or play with their favorite toy. Make the experience rewarding and enjoyable for your dog to encourage them to repeat the behavior.

  • Practice Short Distances: Start by calling your dog from a short distance away, gradually increasing the distance as they become more proficient. Use a happy and enthusiastic tone of voice to signal to your dog that coming to you is a positive and rewarding experience.

  • Add Distractions Gradually: Introduce distractions gradually as your dog becomes more reliable in their recall response. Start with mild distractions such as toys or treats on the floor, then progress to more challenging distractions like other dogs or people.

  • Avoid Frustration and Anger: Try not to get mad at your dog for not coming when called, as this can create fear or anxiety and undermine the trust between you and your dog. Recall takes a lot of repetitions and patience, Instead, focus on reinforcing the behavior, or trying to change the difficulty level so they can win.

  • Practice Regularly: Incorporate recall training into your daily routine and practice in different environments, both indoors and outdoors. Consistent practice will help solidify your dog's recall skills and build confidence in their ability to respond to your commands.

  • Use Long Line or Leash: When practicing recall outdoors, use a long line or leash to prevent your dog from wandering off or getting into unsafe situations. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog as they become more reliable in their recall response.

  • Be Patient and Persistent: Remember that recall training takes time and patience, so be patient with your dog and celebrate their progress along the way. Stay consistent with your training efforts, and don't be discouraged by setbacks or challenges.

  • Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you're struggling to make progress with recall training or encountering specific challenges, consider seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide personalized advice and techniques to help you overcome obstacles and achieve success in your training efforts.

By following these tips and techniques, you can teach your dog to come when called reliably and confidently. Recall training not only enhances safety and control but also strengthens the bond between you and your canine companion. With dedication and positive reinforcement, you and your dog can master recall and enjoy many happy adventures together.

Join us for my upcoming Adventure Dog Group Recall Class starting May 8th!

Australian shepherd coming when called


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