Mastering Recalls: Building a Foundation for Reliable Recall

February 24, 2024

Arguably, the most crucial command in a dog owner’s repertoire is a reliable recall, or having your dog come when called. A solid recall is not only a fundamental safety measure but also paves the way for the freedom of having your dog off-leash. While teaching this behavior requires time and patience, investing in a well-structured training process will yield rewarding results.


Step 1: The Name Game – Laying the Groundwork


Before diving into recall training, ensure your dog has mastered the Name Game. This sets the stage for a responsive dog who gives you their attention when you call their name. For a detailed guide on the Name Game, refer to our previous blog here.


Step 2: Foundation Recall Game – On-Leash in Low Distraction Environments


  • Create a Controlled Environment: Begin recall training with your dog on a leash in an area with minimal distractions.
  • Toss and Back Up: Toss a treat a short distance away, allowing your dog to retrieve it. Once your dog looks at you, mark the moment with a “yes” and back up 8-10 feet, encouraging your dog to come to you swiftly.


Here are some examples.



Step 3: Progressing to Name and Recall Word


  • Combine Cues: Toss the treat as before, and when your dog looks at you, say their name followed by your recall word (e.g., “Dog, come!”). Continue backing up to reinforce a quick response.



Step 4: Introducing Distractions for a Reliable Recall


  • Gradual Distractions: Once your dog consistently responds to the recall in a low-distraction environment, gradually introduce mild distractions. If your dog struggles, make it easier and maintain a consistent backup routine.



Teaching a reliable recall is a gradual process that demands dedication and consistency. Each step builds on the previous one, ensuring your dog is ready for the next challenge. Remember to celebrate success, adjust for any difficulties, and refrain from using the recall word outside of training sessions until you’re confident your dog will respond. With time and commitment, your dog will learn to come to you effortlessly, enhancing both their safety and the bond you share. Happy training!

Looking for a more well-behaved dog?

If you’re seeking improved behavior from your dog, we’re here to help! Our comprehensive training programs are designed to enhance your dog’s behavior and manners. With our expert trainers, proven positive reinforcement methods, and small class sizes, you’ll see positive changes in your dog’s behavior in no time. Get started on the path to a better-behaved dog today! We can’t wait to see you in class!


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