Recall training is one of the most common requests I get from dog owners. Fortunately, it’s usually
something that we can improve quite easily with some consistent training and almost always involves
going back to basics.
Practise. Begin by practising in a really boring, distraction free environment. The problem we
often see with recall training is that people are asking for advanced behaviour (coming back when
there are lots of exciting distractions going on) before they have mastered the basics. If your dog
doesn’t come when you call her in the back garden, you don’t have much chance of it working on the
beach. Start training in the living room, move into the garden, then on a long line in an empty field…
you get the idea. You need solid foundations in place before you can ask for more advanced
When your dog finally comes to you, no matter how long you are waiting in the pouring rain-
praise, praise and praise some more. Even dish out some tasty treats, because your dog needs to
know that returning to mum or dad results in good things happening. If every time they come back
they get a telling off, they’re not going to want to come back, are they?
If every time you go for a walk and let your dog off the lead, you call her back, clip the lead on
and take her home, she will quickly learn that returning to you signals the end of fun time at the
park. We need to break up this sequence of events, so randomly call her back, praise her or give her
a small treat, and let her go off to play again. We always have to think about what our commands
mean to our dogs- ‘come’ shouldn’t mean ‘home time’.
If after reading this you are still struggling with your dog developing ‘selective deafness’ whenever
she’s off lead, contact the Paw Pack to arrange a 121 recall training session.