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Dog Recall Training– 10 Steps On How to Master Recall


Dog recall training, also known as "coming when called," is an essential skill that every dog should learn. It ensures the safety of your dog and allows you to maintain control in various situations. It is easier to learn this skill whilst your dog is still a puppy as they don’t have any learnt behaviours yet, so it will be easier for them to digest this and make it stick to become a command and action.

Teaching recall to a stubborn dog can be especially difficult, and it’s so important you get this right when you’re out and about on walks off the lead. Here's our step-by-step puppy recall training guide to help you with dog recall:

1. Start indoors: Begin training in a quiet, distraction-free environment such as your home or a closed room. Use a high-value treat that your dog loves and keep it within easy reach.

2. Choose a recall cue: Select a word or phrase that will serve as your recall cue, such as "come," "here," or "recall." Be consistent and use the same cue every time. It is important your command word is short and sweet as you don’t want to confuse your dog and over complicate things.

3. Positive associations: Associate the recall cue with positive experiences. Call your dog's name followed by the recall cue and reward them immediately when they come to you. Praise and offer treats, or their favourite toy.

4. Gradual distance: Once your dog starts responding reliably indoors, begin practicing in a larger space like a garden or a quiet park. Increase the distance gradually, but always reward them for coming. Separate to the point, but if you’re on a dog walk and your dog is ahead of you but comes back towards you, this is a form of recall which is unprompted, they should be rewarded with a treat for checking in with you.

5. Introduce distractions: As your dog becomes more reliable, gradually introduce distractions. Start with mild distractions like toys or low-level noises, and then progress to more challenging distractions like other dogs or people.

6. Dog longline training: Attach a long training leash (10-20 feet) to your dog's collar and let them explore while you hold the other end. Allow them to reach the end of the leash and then use the recall cue, gently guiding them towards you. Reward and praise when they come. At first, your dog may become frustrated with the long lead and start biting it as he will have more opportunity to do so with the sheer length of it, don’t panic, this is normal behaviour. Once he realises you can extend his lead further for him to explore, he should stop in no time.

7. Recall games: Incorporate recall training into games to make it fun for your dog. For example, have someone hold your dog while you hide and then call them. When they find you, celebrate and reward them.

8. Consistency and patience: Practice recall training regularly and be consistent with your cues and rewards. We’d recommend you practice this as least once a day so it’s fresh in your dogs’ memory. You’ll be surprised how quickly a dog can forget a command if not trained regularly! Keep training sessions short and positive, avoiding frustration or punishment.

9. Gradually remove the leash whilst outside: Once your dog reliably comes when called on a long leash, you can start practicing in a secure, fenced area without a leash. Remember to maintain a positive and rewarding experience. You could play the game where you’re in a secure field outside and you and another person runs away from your pup in different directions and call him with the command word to see which person, he goes to first (this is the ultimate test to see who's the favourite owner!).

10. Generalise the training: Practice recall training in various locations and situations to help your dog generalize the behaviour. Gradually increase the difficulty level by adding distractions and practicing in new environments.

Remember, puppy recall training takes time and patience. Reinforce positive behaviours, use rewards effectively, and make the training sessions enjoyable for your dog. If you encounter challenges or need further guidance, consider consulting a professional dog trainer for additional assistance.

I hope we’ve managed to answer your question on how to teach a dog recall and you can implement some of the steps listed to master the art of puppy recall. Drop a comment if you have any questions or tips to help stop other dog’s ignoring recall.


Article written by Hayden Lloyd - Founder HWL Pet Supplies Limited

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