How to Develop Good Recall Skills in Your Dog


The simple explanation is to teach the dog that every time you call something wonderful is going to happen. My dog is very food motivated so that was pretty easy. I just kept very high value treats and at first every recall was paid off in them. Over time I gradually reduced the value and frequency of treats but I still sometimes surprise her with something great. Start on a line and call the dog. When he comes, treat with something he loves. If he doesn’t come reel him in on the line then throw a treat party. You can also play “puppy ping pong.” Have someone else work with you and call the dog back and forth each time giving him something good. Never call him for anything bad. If you have to scold him or do something he doesn’t like go to him instead of calling. He has to think every time you call something great is going to happen. You can also use the recall cue for things he likes such as walks or play time. Even if he’s only a few feet away call first for any activity he likes. For example, for a walk call him from two or three feet, treat for coming then tell him to sit for the leash. Put it on and start the walk. This way he gets double reinforcement – the treat and the walk. For distraction, work with what you have. In the beginning however it isn’t as important. Any distraction will do – like being in a different place. Next work on it around family. When he gets good in that situation try having someone throw a ball or hold a toy when you call. Once you run out of distractions where you are at then you will have to do something more like take him in to town or join a training class Just remember to up the treat value when you add more distraction. You should also step back so that you can get a good reliable result. For example, if you start at home on a long line then graduate to off leash, when you start adding more distraction you will need to go back to a line at first.

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