How to Train a Recall

As we all know, most dogs love running around off lead, it gives them the opportunity to socialise, smell and play. However, it is vital to make sure they come back when called for their safety. It is important that their recall can be reliable regardless of where they are and what is around them. To get a reliable recall the dog needs to learn that positive things happen when they come back to us (rewards, praise and play).


Before you start training:

-You need to know what your dog likes and finds reinforcing, this could be toys or food etc. Also, within that some dogs will work for kibble, some will only work for chicken (high value). Find what works for your animal and work with it.

 -Come up with your recall command, whether that be the dog’s name, whistle, come etc.

-Practice recall in safety of your own home before taking out and about

-When you move outdoors make sure you have the right equipment. This includes a suitable fitting harness, flat collar and long line. By attaching the long line to a harness instead of a collar you are reducing risk of injury. Avoid extendable leads as these can cause injury and may not be a reliable training tool.


Training recall:

-Show your dog the toy/food (a reward/motivator for your specific dog)

-Run away a couple of paces (backwards so you face your dog still)

-Call your dogs name or your command word, for example “come”

-As your dog comes to you, touch collar/harness for a second and then reward with play/food. Make sure your dog is engaged with you and enjoying it. (If your dog has issues with you touching collar/harness work on this first as its key to getting your dog back on lead)

-Gradually increase the distance until your dog can be called from another room, in from the garden etc.

- Don’t call your dog if you do not have a good enough reward for your dog as you may undo training if not fully trained

-Use recall regularly and make sure you are not just using it to put your dog back on lead

-Once you have a reliable recall, you can start to introduce distractions from afar. The bigger the distraction the bigger the reward may need to be.