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Why a Reliable Recall Is So Important

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

When you have a reliable recall with your dog, you can take them anywhere and feel confident they will come to you when called. This is an essential skill for all dog owners that takes time and patience to master. But why is a reliable recall so important? Here are just a few reasons:

A small, white dog in a grass field running towards the camera

  • Peace of mind knowing your dog will come to you 100% of the time! Even in a distracted state.

  • The ability to let them off leash in safe areas

  • Being able to call them away from potential danger

A reliable recall is the foundation of a strong bond between owner and pup. It sets the stage for a lifetime of adventures together.

A recall is when your dog comes back to you on command, and it's an essential skill for them to learn.

Teaching a recall is a detailed process. As with all training, everything starts with engagement, motivation, and a communication system! ALWAYS!!!

Far too many dog owners and trainers try to start teaching behaviors! Sits, downs, stays, recalls….

First, begin by building vast amounts of engagement with the puppy/dog.

Teaching becomes fun and effortless if your dog wants what you have and wants to be with you.

After I build the MEM (Motivation, Engagement, Markers), I can begin the process.

Movement is a big part of the motivation.

I now begin the process of recall!

I go through several stages to produce a solid recall:

  • Food Chase Recall

  • Restrained Recall/ Harness

  • Long Line Recall (3 phases)

  • E-collar Recall (3 phases)

  • Proofing the Recall

A reliable recall means that your dog will come to you despite distractions.

A reliable recall means no matter what kind of distractions or temptations your pupencounters, they will return to you when you call their name. Reliable recalls are beneficial for any situation – from taking your pup for a walk in the dog park to keeping them safe around busy roads; knowing your dog will come back is essential and worth putting in the time and effort to train. Establishing a recalled behavior should first be done in an environment with minimal distractions. Gradually increasing the difficulty by introducing more distractions. In no time, your pup will be trained to reliably come back at your command!

You must stay consistent if your dog wants to reliably come when called. The command to tell your dog to "come here" must only be associated with positive things. Every time they come back to you, let them know that they made the best choice possible by rewarding them with a toy, food, personal play/praise.

Working on 'come when called' with your canine companion is one of the most important things you can do as a dog owner. The key to successful voice recall is consistency.

Take Baby Steps When Training Recall

When training your pup to come when called, taking baby steps is the way to go. Start with a lead or leash and small distances; once your dog reliably recalls to you, try increasing the distance. Also, remember to use an encouraging tone of voice; studies have shown that a positive word or phrase associated with praise helps strengthen the training.

Be Consistent With Your Recall

Make it Extra Rewarding When Your Dog Comes Back

This is one of the most important things to remember when training recall with your dog. It would be best if you made coming back to you the most exciting and rewarding thing possible. Positive reinforcement during training clearly communicates to your dog that they've done precisely what is expected of them. There are many reward possibilities – it doesn't just have to be treats. Dogs can be highly motivated by play, so try a tug toy or lure if your dog likes to chase. If they go crazy for squeaky toys, use those. You can make it extra rewarding by making a game out of it.

Start Rewarding Your Dog Before They Reach You

Whether you're using a clicker or verbal praise, another way to improve your dog's recall is by letting them know they're on the right track as they head back to you. Suppose you wait until they've reached you before rewarding them with positive reinforcement. In that case, it can give them more time to become distracted. A clicker is helpful; it allows me to respond when my dog does something desired with an unmistakable sound. Rewarding your dog while they are returning to you makes running recalls all the easier.

Recalls are one of the most important commands we can teach our pups!!!

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