Recall Training Tips
We are often asked for help with ways to train and improve recall. So, we spoke to Gill Devereux, British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers (Adv)) and Behaviourist & Trainer to MGAR who has given her helpful advice to common questions surrounding recall:
Why won’t my dog come back to me when called?
Because you have to train recall thoroughly, daily and throughout the dog’s life. The dog begins to understand that coming back to the owner is the best thing ever and that they will always be rewarded for doing so.
How should I start recall training?
The best way to start is off lead at home using a meal as the reward as soon as possible. As you put the meal down say “Come”. Then on lead in the garden – run backwards call your dog and ALWAYS reward with food. A toy or a lot of praise can also work but food is the biggest motivator providing it is very tasty. Progress to a long line, which is slack, waiting until your dog is distracted, call your dog excitably, tighten the line, give the command, when he comes to you – reward. Then progress to off lead. The success of recall depends on not rushing the training so, do not progress until the stage you are at is consistent and reliable and ALWAYS reward your dog. Never ever be angry with your dog and remember - Repeat, repeat repeat.
Should I use their name to call them back?
Calling his name gets his attention – why? - because you use it so often in a day. But you must follow his name with what you want him to do. So, ideally “Fido Come”.
Why is recall so challenging to train?
Because there are a lot of distractions for your dog to investigate – dogs, people, smells etc. You have to be the best distraction so, that your dog will come to you and be rewarded. Dogs only repeat what is rewarding to them.
I have a dog, not a puppy, can I still teach recall?
Yes, any dog of any age can be taught recall. Start teaching your dog as soon as possible, at home with food bowl and rewards.
Should I stop training recall once my dog learns the command?
Never stop training recall and keep it fresh and fun for your dog.
If you need any advice about your pet please contact one of our rescue centres, they are more than happy to support.
By following these simple tips and persevering you will see results and remember no matter how old your dog is they are never too old to learn!