Dog Training: The Infamous Recall

October 20, 2020 | We Learn | Tips from Marie Aymard

There is no better feeling that having the confidence in your dog to be able to comfortably let them off of their leash and know, without doubt, that they will come back to you when called. It is an elusive accomplishment for many dog owners, and probably the most frequently stated goal for new clients coming in for training. So how do you do it?!  How do you make sure that when you recall your dog, they will come back to you?!  Here are some do’s and don’ts of developing the infamous recall!


  • As much as possible, don’t give your dog a chance to blow you off and not follow through with your recall commands. Every time your dog is able to ignore your command, they can become desensitized to the cue. Recall training needs to be done in areas when you can ensure success.
  • When in new areas, don’t give your dog total freedom until they have proven their reliability. Use a long line to help ensure your dog’s return consistently.
  • Do not wean off of rewards too soon. Many people want to get away from using treats or toys to reward their dogs, but doing this too early can cause your dog to be inconsistent in their execution of a command.
  • If your dog does blow you off, and then does come back to you, don’t get angry with them then. Even though it wasn’t ideal, if they begin to think they will get chastised when they do come back, you’re decreasing their motivation to come back to you.
  • Under no circumstance should you ever chase your dog. Doing this feeds into their keep away game and reinforces them not returning to you when asked.

“Recall is an elusive accomplishment for many dog owners, and probably the most frequently stated goal for new clients coming in for training.”


  • When training your recall, always have an extremely high value motivator with you. Most times you will be calling your dog back to you from something they find extremely enticing, so returning to you needs to be worth it for them.
  • Make your recall a regular part of off leash activity. Have your dog come back to you multiple times during off leash time (not just when you’re getting ready to leave) and then release them to return to play.
  • Train the recall as a very clear command. Teach the dog that when they come to you, they need to always perform the same sequence of behaviors – turn to you, come back, and sit in front of you. To increase speed, jog backwards away from your dog as they are coming to you and they will want to get to you even faster.
  • Remember, it is ALWAYS beneficial to seek the help of a professional trainer for problem areas with your dog! Trainers will be able to help you overcome high valued distractions (squirrels, other dogs, etc) and proof the recall to increase reliability in all areas.
  • Set your dog up for success! Success comes from consistency and good repetitions.  Always build up distractions slowly and work through problem areas systematically.

The more work you put into your dog’s recall, the more off leash fun you can have!  Some dogs take more time and conditioning than others, so always remember to work at your dog’s pace and make the game a fun experience!

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

If you enjoyed this post, you should read How to Recognize If Your Dog Has The Flu here.

Have you mastered the art of recall with your dog?

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