Tips for Recalling Your Dog


It’s a scenario many dog-owners dread…your dog sneaks out of the house or the leash slips from your hand while on a walk.  Suddenly, you are competing for the attention of your dog with so many other distractions – a squirrel, other dogs, smells – you name it.  You may be fighting a losing battle if you don’t do a little pre-planning and practice recalling your dog.

Recall, a technique where your dog comes back to you when called, despite other distractions, is important for you and your pet’s safety, especially in public parks or places you and your pet are unfamiliar with.

Here are a few tips to get you started…

  • Start your training in less distracting areas. It’s hard to compete against too many distractions early on. Instead, once you have mastered a quieter area, take your training somewhere a bit more difficult.
  • When training, reward your dog every time you call. Not most times, every time! It can be treats, a toy or whatever is of high value to your dog.  Your dog should always consider that going to you when called is AWESOME no matter what!  If you wish, you can use a sound or other trigger word as the sound your dog responds to, other than their name.
  • Call your pet once. Do not repeat the call or scold them if they don’t respond the first time.  Repeating your call and then rewarding them teaches that they can wait to hear your call several times before responding.  Getting mad at them with an angry voice is not something they will be drawn to.  Would you?
  • Do your training on leash so your pet cannot get away from you before the behaviour is learned.

Remember that consistency is key for your pet to learn the desired behaviour.  In a dog’s world, the stomach rules, so make sure great things happen each time they come running to you calling their name. Just like us, dogs love things that are rewarding!

The RHS has several reward-based dog training classes available, including Recall classes, to help you and your pet enjoy every moment together.  You can get more information here: