How To Teach Your To Recall (to come back): Top Tips

How To Teach Your To Recall (to come back): Top Tips

Teaching your dog to recall, is essentially letting your dog know to come back to you when you ask him to, even when he would much rather frolic in the mud. If you ever plan to take your dog off the lead in public, this is a need to know command.

To teach your dog recall, you first need to decide on a word, or use a sound (such as a clicker or whistle) that your dog will learn as a signal to come back. 

Start by calling out your dogs name to getting your dog to sit down, and slowly increase the distance between the two of you. Then call out your dogs name to get his attention and when you are ready, use the signal and see if your dog comes to you. Each time your dog comes over to join you, give them praise. It’s pretty simple really, but here are some extra tips:

Alternate Rewards

To make sure that commands are retained, it’s important to use a mixture of rewards, aside from just that juicy treat Fido knows you have in your pocket. Use plenty of verbal praises and lots of fusses when Fido does something good and it will help you both grow your relationship but also boost his skills. 

If you alternate between these three reward systems, you have a better chance that Fido will respond, even if a treat isn’t involved. 

Keep A Routine 

Dogs respond very well to routine, if you walk Fido every day, use that chance to practice his recall in a dedicate sweet spot on the journey. 

Fido will soon find the association and will understand what he is expected to do; meaning confidence can grow and nothing is too confusing for him.

If you keep at it, before you know it, Fido will be ready for his training lesson before you are. Next step, you’ll be competing in national dog competitions.

Be Patient 

It may take Fido a little while before he starts to understand what you are asking of him. Dogs may even get confused and mess up, even when they seem to be improving. 

Remember that it’s not about running in a race, or gaining the worlds most well-trained puppy, it’s about building a bond of trust between man and dog. It’s okay if things need to be taken a step back and re-attempted.

You need to be patient with Fido’s progress and focus on the successes rather than the bits that need a little extra work.

Keep It Comfortable

Remember that Fido will get tired and he will need breaks. He will need to use the loo, he may even get stressed or upset. It’s important to keep Fido happy and comfortable when training to ensure that your commands stick. It’s pretty basic to know that if your dog isn’t a happy bunny, he likely won’t pay attention to you.

Allow plenty of rests and many fusses to keep that morale and brainpower high.

Find A Distraction Free Zone

The environment you train Fido in, is extremely important. When you start training recall, or want to improve on it, start in a quiet and a distraction-free area; Fido won’t care about your voice if there is a bunny hopping about! 

As Fido gains confidence in this command, you can test it by slowly increasing the distractions and taking him to a busy area, it’s a slow process but it’s more effective than jumping in head first.

Stick At It For The Long Term

Maintaining a strong recall takes a lot of time and effort. It’s not something you can stop doing as soon as Fido seems to have got the hang of it. Make sure to involve it in your everyday lifestyle to keep Fido on his game and being the goodest of all dogs.

Bring In Back Up

If little Fido is refusing to listen to you, and it’s starting to cause stress in your relationship, remain calm. You can call a specialist dog trainer who can help you gain the trust of your dog. Remember that dogs are just as sensitive as humans are and it’s hard to communicate with an animal of another species; so they are trying their best.

Main image by Kristida Photography

About the Author Kiri Nowak

Hi, I’m Kiri. I am a writer and love what I do. But I couldn't do it without my dog by my side. I have always loved dogs and they have been the topic of a lot of my writing. It has become a passion of mine to share my knowledge and help people give their dogs the best life possible.