Training Tips: How to Teach Your Dog Recall

Getting your dog to respond to the recall command, or ‘come’ is more than just a fun trick. It is a safety mechanism that helps control the animal. ‘Come’ is a basic command that any dog can learn. Like people, dogs develop habits. With recall, they hears the same words again and again until the association is natural. When you call ‘come’ the dog should look at you for a brief second, and then runs with enthusiasm.

Start out the training with some treats in your pocket to reward a job well done.

Training Steps

  1. Put a lead on the dog that offers at least 6 feet of lead way. The leash can be longer, but ensure that the dog can get a reasonable distance from you before you start. As an alternative, you could get a friend to hold the dog for you.
  2. Tell the dog to stay. Say the word ‘stay’ even if he has not perfected the command yet. Stay is as important as the recall command. If you’re not sure on the steps to train your dog to stay, why not refer to our other training tips guide?.
  3. Grasp the lead and walk about 6 feet, approximately six steps, away from your dog. If they try to follow, start over again with the ‘stay’ command’ until they understand to stay put. It would be helpful to have someone else around if your dog won’t stay.
  4. Face the dog and say their name then ‘come’ (or whatever command you’re choosing to use). Always combine the two, the dog’s name first and then ‘come’. The sequence of words is important when reinforcing the command.
  5. Gather up the lead ss you speak the command and the dog moves to you. This shows her she is doing what you want her to do. You should not be pulling the dog to you, just winding up the lead to encourage them to move.
  6. Treat your dog with lots of fuss and a tasty treat when they reach you. Reinforce the treat with lots of verbal affection and petting. As your dog gets the hang of this command you can also get them to sit in front of you when they reach you before you reward them for the action.

Start all over again. As this is learned behaviour, your dog may not do it right every time. Repeating the command training will develop the habit.

Once your dog has mastered the 6-foot mark, move further away and do it again. It is not necessary to spend hours a day learning this one command. Do it several times for days until it is obvious the dog understands. If you are working with a friend, turn the dog around after he comes to you and have the friend call them.

The same process works for adult dogs and puppies. A young dog may take a little more training, especially if they don’t know other commands such as ‘stay’. No matter what age your dog, always train in a fenced area if you are not using a lead. If the dog is doing well, take the lead off in an enclosed area to try the activity at different positions.

As with training, Have some fun with it and enjoy the time you spend with your dog!