Dog Training

The Secret to Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called

If you want your dog to be the best they can be, you must teach them how to come back to you when you call them. This is called recall, and it is essential for dog training. It helps you and your dog become closer and happier. To recall well, you need to know what works best for your dog because every dog is different and learns in their way. In this guide, we will show you how to train recall in dogs so you and your dog can get along well and trust each other.

Recall is suitable for your dog because it lets them have fun, explore, and stay in touch with you. When you teach your dog to come when you call them, you make them safer and more attentive. In the following paragraphs, we will tell you how to use the best ways, words, and rewards to make your dog listen to you and come back to you. Join us on this journey to improve your dog’s recall skills and build a solid and happy bond with them.

What Is Reliable Recall?

This topic explains what reliable recall means and why it is essential for dogs. It also describes different types of dogs that may have challenges with recall, such as the runner, the playful one, the puppy, and the nontraditional student.

Alternatives to Off-Leash Play.

This topic suggests ways to give your dog exercise and stimulation without letting them off the leash. It also covers how to arrive at an off-leash dog park safely and responsibly.

Training Recalls.

This topic covers how to train your dog to come when called. It introduces different training levels, from easy to difficult, and other training styles based on your dog’s temperament. It also helps you find your dog’s motivation and have fun playing detective.

Recall Games.

This topic introduces fun and effective games you can play with your dog to improve their recall. Some examples are ping pong recall, back away recall, the counting game, hand target recall, hide and seek, recall to the middle, and recall to sit.

Poisoning the Cue.

This topic explains what poisoning the cue means and how to avoid it. It also gives some tips on how to change your cue if it has been poisoned.

Recall Training Tips.

This topic provides additional advice on how to make your recall training successful. It includes 7 fun games to nail your dog’s recall training, 3 easy steps to teach your dog to come back when called, and some do’s and don’ts for teaching puppy recall.

How to Teach Your Dog to Come:

 The Basics.

This topic covers the fundamentals of teaching your dog to come. It includes teaching your dog to respond to their name, rewarding your dog when they come back, adding some distractions, and increasing the length of the recall distance.

What Not To Do.

This topic lists some common mistakes people make when training their dog to come and how to avoid them. Some examples are calling your dog when you are angry, chasing your dog, or using the same cue for different commands.

How Hounds Lounge Can Help.

This topic explains how Hounds Lounge, a dog daycare and boarding facility, can help you with your dog’s recall training. It describes the benefits of socializing your dog with other dogs and humans, the professional staff and trainers, and the safe and fun environment.

Why Your Dog Won’t Listen To You.

This topic explores possible reasons your dog may not come when called and how to address them. Some reasons are lack of trust, lack of attention, lack of reinforcement, or lack of clarity.

Dog Training Classes From Dog School.

This topic introduces Dog School, a dog training program that offers classes for dogs of all ages and abilities. It describes the curriculum, the instructors, the locations, and the benefits of enrolling your dog in Dog School.

Critical Details.

This topic summarizes the most important steps and tips for recall training. It includes selecting a new word, making an association, building on your training indoors, taking your training outdoors, acclimation trial, adding distractions, making it an everyday routine, learning from mistakes, training vs testing, collar grabs, and the name game.

Need More Recall Help?

 This topic provides resources and suggestions for getting more help with your dog’s recall training. It includes books, videos, online courses, blogs, podcasts, and professional trainers.

Achieving Perfect Recall.

This topic explains what perfect recall means and how to achieve it. It also addresses some common questions and challenges during recall training, such as why g runs from me, how to deal with distractions, or how to maintain consistency.

How to Train a Recall.

This topic covers the basic steps and principles of recall training. It includes your response everything: setting them up for success, proofing your pup, and six dog recall training steps.

Tips on Teaching Your Dog A Reliable Recall.

 This topic offers some more tips and tricks on how to teach your dog a reliable recall. It includes 7 games that can teach your dog something; play is one of the best reinforcements; not all dogs are equally easy to train, change your cue, and dogs need to generalize.

Why Is Recall Training For Puppies Important?

This topic explains why recall training is essential for puppies and how to start it early. It includes how to start your puppy recall training, the first steps – watch me, move towards you, add a cue word, practice recall training in different rooms and the garden, and make it fun.

First Steps To Puppy Recall Training Outdoors

Once your puppy has learned the basics of recall indoors, you can start to practice outdoors. However, it would help if you were careful and gradual, as there are many more distractions and dangers outside. Here are some tips for puppy recall training outdoors:

Top Tips For Puppy Recall Training

  • Use a long line or a leash to keep your puppy safe and under control. You can gradually increase the length as your puppy improves.
  •  Choose a quiet and enclosed area, such as a fenced park or a garden, to avoid traffic and other dogs.
  •  Start with short distances and low distractions, gradually increasing the difficulty as your puppy progresses.
  •  Use high-value treats and toys to reward your puppy for returning to you. Make it a party every time they do!
  •  End the session on a positive note, and don’t overdo it. Keep it fun and short, and always leave your puppy wanting more.

Get Everyone Involved

  • Your puppy must learn to return to anyone who calls them, not just you. So, get your family and friends involved in the training and ensure they use the same cue and reward system.
  •  You can also play recall games with multiple people, such as ping pong recall, where you take turns calling your puppy and rewarding them.

Catching Your Dog!

  • One of the biggest mistakes people make when training recall is grabbing their dog by the collar or harness as soon as they return. This can make your dog reluctant to return, as they associate it with something unpleasant or the end of the fun.
  •  Instead, it would help if you taught your dog to enjoy being caught by gently touching their collar or harness and giving them a treat or a toy. Then, let them go and play again. Repeat this several times until your dog is happy to be caught.

Play Puppy Recall Games

Recall training doesn’t have to be boring. You can make it fun and exciting for your puppy by playing games that reinforce the recall behavior. Some examples of recall games are:

  • Back away recall: Call your puppy and then run away from them, encouraging them to chase you. When they catch up, reward them and praise them.
  •  The counting game: Call your puppy and start counting out loud from one to ten. The faster your puppy comes back, the bigger the reward they get. For example, they get three treats if they come back at three. If they come back at ten, they get one treat.
  •  Hand target recall: Teach your puppy to touch your hand with their nose and reward them. Then, use this as a recall cue by holding your hand out and calling your puppy. When they touch your hand, reward them and praise them.
  •  Hide and seek: Hide behind a tree or a bush, and call your puppy. When they find you, reward them and honor them. You can ask someone to hold your puppy while you hide to make it more challenging.
  •  Recall to middle: Have two people stand a few meters apart, and have your puppy sit in the middle. Take turns calling your puppy, and reward them when they come to you. You can also move around and change the distance to make it more interesting.
  •  Recall to sit: Call your puppy and then ask them to sit when they come to you. Reward them for sitting, and then release them to play again. This teaches your puppy to return and be calm, not just run around.

Next Steps In Puppy Recall Training

Making it real Once your puppy has mastered the recall in controlled environments, you can make it more realistic and challenging. You want your puppy to come back to you in any situation, even when other dogs, people, or distractions are around. Here are some steps to make your recall training more real:

Take it on the Road:

Start to practice your recall in different places, such as the park, the beach, the forest, or the street. Expose your puppy to different sights, sounds, and smells, and reward them for returning to you. Be careful and use a long line or a leash, if necessary, to keep your puppy safe and under control.

Acclimation trial:

Before you start your recall training, let your puppy explore and get used to the new environment. This will reduce their excitement and curiosity and make them more likely to pay attention to you. You can also use this time to observe what your puppy is interested in and use it as a reward or a distraction.

Add Distractions To Your Dog Recall Training:

Gradually introduce more distractions to your recall training, such as other dogs, people, toys, or food. Start with low-level distractions, such as a toy on the ground, and work up to high-level distractions, such as a dog running past. Reward your puppy for ignoring the distractions and coming back to you. You can also use the distractions as a reward by letting your puppy play with them after they come back to you.

Make Your Recall Training An Everyday Routine:

Make sure to limit your recall training to specific sessions or places. Incorporate it into your daily life, and call your puppy randomly and frequently whenever possible. This will teach your puppy always to be ready and responsive and not to anticipate when you will call them.

Learn from Mistakes:

 Don’t get angry or frustrated if your puppy doesn’t come back to you. Instead, try to figure out why they didn’t come back and how you can improve your training. You may need to use a higher-value reward, a more exciting cue, a shorter distance, or a quieter place. You may need to practice more, or less, or differently. Don’t give up, and keep trying until you succeed.

Training vs Testing:

There is a difference between training your puppy and testing your puppy. Training is when you set your puppy up for success and reward them for doing the right thing. Testing is when you put your puppy in a challenging situation and see how they perform. You should do more training than testing and only test your puppy when you are confident they will return to you. Pushing your puppy too soon or too often can damage their recall and make them lose your trust.

Do’s And Don’ts For Teaching Puppy Recall

Recall training is not always easy, but it is worth it. Here are some do’s and don’ts for teaching your puppy recall:

Do’s For Puppy Recall Training

  • Do start early: The earlier you start your recall training, the better. Puppies are more eager to learn and bond with you and less likely to develop bad habits or fears. Start your recall training when you bring your puppy home and prioritize it.
  •  Do be consistent: Use the same cue, reward, and tone of voice every time you call your puppy. This will help your puppy understand what you want and what they will get. Only change your cue or reward if you have a good reason.
  •  Do be positive: Always make your recall training fun and rewarding for your puppy. Use high-value treats and toys and lots of praise and affection. Never punish your puppy for not coming back or for coming back slowly. This will only make your puppy afraid or resentful of you and less likely to return.
  •  Be patient: Recall training takes time and effort, and you may not see results immediately. Don’t expect your puppy to return to you in every situation or be perfect every time. Be realistic and understanding, and celebrate every slight improvement. Remember that your puppy is still learning, and they need your guidance and support.

Don’t’s When Recall Training Puppies

  • Don’t chase your puppy: If it doesn’t come back to you, don’t run after them or try to catch them. This will only make your puppy think it’s a game, and they will run away from you more. Instead, try to get your puppy’s attention and encourage them to approach you. You can also walk away from them and see if they will follow you.
  •  Don’t call your puppy for something unpleasant: If you need to do something your puppy doesn’t like, such as clipping their nails, bathing them, or taking them to the vet, don’t use your recall cue. This will make your puppy associate your cue with something negative and avoid coming back to you. Instead, go to your puppy and gently pick them up or leash them. You can also use a different cue, such as “Let’s go” or “Time for a bath.”
  •  Don’t overuse your cue: If you call your puppy too often or for no reason, your puppy will learn to ignore your cue. Your cue will lose meaning and value, and your puppy will become bored or annoyed. Only call your puppy when you need them to return to you and when you have something good to offer them. Don’t call your puppy to check on them or stop them from doing something fun.
  •  Don’t rely on treats alone: Treats are a great way to motivate your puppy to return to you, but they are not the only way. It would help if you also use other rewards, such as toys, games, praise, or petting. This will make your recall training more varied and exciting, and your puppy will learn to come back to you for different reasons.

Make It Worthwhile

Your dog must have a solid incentive to return to you when you call them. You need to make it worthwhile by offering them something they love, such as a tasty treat, a toy, or a game. It would help if you also showed them you are happy and excited when they come to you and give them lots of praise and affection. Avoid calling your dog for something they don’t like, such as a bath, a nail trim, or the end of a fun activity.

Start Young

The best time to start recall training is when your dog is still a puppy. Puppies are naturally curious and eager to learn and have a strong bond with their owners. They are also less likely to have developed bad habits or fears that can interfere with recall training. However, there is always time to teach an older dog to come when called, as long as you are patient and consistent.

Begin with the Basics

Before you can teach your dog to come when you call them, you must teach them to pay attention to you and respond to their name. You can do this by saying their name cheerfully and rewarding them with treats or toys when they look at you. You can also play games that involve calling their name and having them follow you around. Once your dog reliably responds to their name, you can add a cue word for recall, such as “come,” “here,” or “recall.”

Same Trick, Different Place

Dogs could be better at generalizing, meaning they may need to understand that the same command applies in different situations or environments. You need to practice recall training in various places, such as your living room, backyard, front yard, neighborhood, park, beach, etc. You also need to vary the distance and the direction from which you call your dog and the position you are in when you call them (standing, sitting, lying down, etc.).

Keep up the Treats

One of the most common mistakes people make when recalling training their dogs is to stop rewarding them once they think they have learned the skill. This can cause your dog to lose interest and motivation and ignore your calls. You must keep rewarding your dog every time they come to you, even if they are already good at it. You can also vary the type and the amount of rewards you give them and sometimes surprise them with a jackpot reward, such as a handful of treats or a special toy.


If your dog is not responding well to recall training, you must identify and address the possible reasons. Some of the common problems are:

  • Your dog is distracted by something more interesting or exciting than you, such as a squirrel, a bird, another dog, a person, etc. It would help if you increased the value of your rewards and practiced in low-distraction areas before moving on to more challenging ones.
  •  Your dog is afraid of something that makes them want to run away from you, such as a loud noise, a car, a stranger, etc. You need to help your dog overcome their fears by exposing them to the scary stimulus gradually and positively and rewarding them for staying calm and close to you.
  •  Your dog needs clarification on your cue, tone, body language, or expectations. You need to make sure that you use a clear and consistent cue, that you sound happy and inviting when you call your dog, that you gesture or move towards your dog when you call them, and that you don’t ask too much of your dog too soon.

Take it on the Road.

Once your dog has mastered recall training in familiar and controlled environments, you can test their skills in real-life situations. You can take your dog to places where they can enjoy some off-leash time, such as a dog park, a hiking trail, a beach, etc. However, you must be careful and responsible when letting your dog off the leash. You need to make sure that your dog is well-socialized and friendly with other dogs and people, that the area is safe and legal for off-leash dogs, that your dog is under your control and supervision at all times, and that you have a reliable way to get your dog back on the leash when needed.

Acclimation Trial

An acclimation trial is a way to introduce your dog to a new environment or situation before you let them off the leash. It involves allowing your dog to explore the area on a long leash or a retractable leash while you observe their behavior and reactions. You can use this technique to assess your dog’s comfort, confidence, curiosity, and distraction level in the new place and to decide whether it is suitable and safe for off-leash play. You can also use this opportunity to practice recall training and reinforce your dog’s positive association with the area.

Add Distractions To Your Dog Recall Training

Distractions are anything that can compete with your attention and your rewards when you call your dog. They can be sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or sensations your dog finds interesting, exciting, or scary. Distractions can make recall training more complex but more realistic and practical. It would help if you increased the level gradually and the variety of distractions your dog faces when you practice recall training and ensure you can still get your dog’s attention and response. You can use toys, treats, noises, or other dogs or people as distractions and reward your dog for choosing you over them.

Make Your Recall Training An Everyday Routine

Recall training is something that you do only once and then remember about. This skill needs to be maintained and reinforced throughout your dog’s life. You need to make recall training a part of your everyday routine with your dog and look for opportunities to practice it in different situations and environments. You can also make recall training fun for you and your dog by playing games, using rewards, and being creative.

Learn from Mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable when you train your dog to come when called. Sometimes, your dog will not come; sometimes, you will not reach them, and sometimes, you will both mess up. However, mistakes are not failures but learning opportunities. You need to learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them. It would help to avoid blaming or punishing your dog for their mistakes, as this will only damage your relationship and your dog’s trust. Instead, you need to be patient and positive and try again.

Training vs. Testing

Training and testing are two different aspects of recall training. Training is when you teach your dog the skill, and testing is when you evaluate their performance. You need to balance training and testing and keep them distinct. When you train your dog, you must set them up for success and reward them for every correct response. When you test your dog, you must challenge them and see how they cope with different scenarios. You also need to adjust your expectations and rewards according to the difficulty of the test.

Collar Grabs and the Name Game

Collar grabs and the name game is two simple exercises that can improve your dog’s recall. A collar grab is when you gently hold your dog’s collar and reward them with a treat or a toy. This teaches your dog to associate their collar with something positive and to allow you to handle them. A name game is when you say your dog’s name and reward them when they look at you. This teaches your dog to pay attention to you and to respond to their name. You can practice these exercises regularly and randomly and incorporate them into your recall training.


To end, learning recall training is about making your dog come when you call them and creating a strong, talking bond that stays forever. Good recall makes a good relationship, where your dog friend listens and follows your words. From knowing your dog’s personality to playing fun recall games, this guide has shown you a complete way to train that works well.

Remember that every dog is different, and the way to get perfect recall may have some problems. But, by using positive rewards, regular training, and knowing what your dog likes, you can solve problems and enjoy the small wins.

No matter if you have a lively puppy or an older friend, the rules of recall training are the same. You are making a sound and listening dog friend by following the steps in this guide, from choosing a new word to getting your dog used to real situations.

When you try to get a perfect recall, be calm, keep going, and be happy with the changes you make together. By using the tips and ways in this guide, you are training your dog and making a closer connection and a relationship based on trust and knowing. Have fun training!

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