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Dog Won’t Come When Called? Try This Easy Recall Training Method

Is your dog "ignoring" you when you call them? Do you call them and they continue running in the other direction? Try these recall training tips.

Recall Training: To come or not to come?

bernadoodle dog training

Your dog’s Come or Recall training is pretty important. Whether it is an emergency situation, they are chasing something or you are calling them from one room to the other. You want your dog to come to you when you call them. Here are some tips to a successful recall from your dog and how to accomplish that.

Here are the 5 rules of recall training.
  • Never call your dog for anything unpleasant. Such as nail clipping, bathing, or having his leash clipped on to go home from the park. In short, anything that might give him pause the next time you call him.
  • Never call your dog if you are not sure he will come All recalls should be successful recalls. Work at your dog’s level: If he has a kindergarten-level recall, don’t give him a graduate assignment like being called away from a cat in a tree. The cat is already more interesting than you. If you are concerned about your dog chasing cats. We can talk about this as well.
  • If you call your dog and he doesn’t come, you must make it happen. Remember you need to be more interesting than what he is paying attention to. Start at short distances with high value rewards.
  • Never repeat the cue. Resist the urge to call over and over and over. It only teaches your dog to tune out the cue. Call once and, if necessary, use rule 3. Make the recall happen.
  • Fabulous rewards get fabulous recalls. If you want your dog to stop whatever interesting doggie thing he is doing and come running to you, make it worth his while. Use extra yummy treats—no dry biscuits here!—or a special toy if that is your dog’s fancy.

Training your Recall

Step 1: Make sure your dog has a good understanding of their name first. You can do this by practicing the “name game”. Their name shouldn’t be the recall / come cue but they should know their name 100% of the time you say it.

Step 2: From short distance about 6 to 8 feet, call your dog. Using a cheerful voice saying your dog’s name, when she starts to move toward you add the word “Come”. Praise her and give her the most delicious and yummy treats she hasn’t had before. Be generous on the rewards since this is a big deal for them to come to you. Do this 3 to 4 times  Remember your dog’s name by itself is not a recall. Say “All Done” when you have finished with the Recall exercise. 

If your dog doesn’t come when you say their name, make some novel noises – kissy or whistle or funny noises for them to start coming. Then add come when they start moving toward you.

Step 3: When you have built a good foundation with your dog for your recall, then you can start to add distractions. Start practicing with small distractions then slowly building up as your dog’s recall gets better. Remember you will be working at your dog’s level not yours. 

Step 4: Add more distance to your recall. In some instances you may need to have your dog on a long lead and some times you may not.

It’s important to practice in different environments with different distractions so that your dog does not generalize to come to you at one place or with one person or in one situation. Recall training can take time and patience. 

Happy Training,




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