Recall: “Come Here Boy!”

Learning how to maneuver your dog around is the foundation of a LOT of dog training.

Introduction - Read This First!

“Recall” is what dog professionals call it when you ask your dog to come to you. You can actually use lots of different words like “come”, “come here”, “let’s go”, or even just your dog’s name. When you ask your dog to come to you, you have to convince them that YOU are way more fun and interesting than everything else they wanted to do.

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Why Is Recall So Important?

The thing to know about Recall is that it might be the most important command you ever teach your dog! Imagine if they get out of the front door and are running to the street – what do you do?? Yup, a really good recall is the answer! 

Nobody wants THIS to happen when they drop the leash!

Recalls - Always Positive And Fun!

The most important thing to remember about asking your dog to come over to you is that you have to be happy when you do it! Even if your dog juts did something very naughty, no dog will come to someone who is angry. Your dog should look like this whenever you do a recall 🙂

There are three parts to a recall. We’ll teach you them to you one by one:

Part 1: Treat Hands

Use The Right Treats!

Your first goal is to make sure your dog absolutely loves doing recalls, especially when you’re outside. So make sure to use very stinky, high-value treats.

It might be difficult to have treats on you all the time, but we only need to use these delicious treats while while we’re teaching recalls in the beginning, especially if you’re training outside.

Hold The Treats The Right Way

Remember first how to hold the treats the right way: place the treat at the base of your index and middle fingers, then hold it in place with your thumb. This way you can hold a flat palm without the treat falling out. 

Treats To The Face!

And how to “show” the treats to your dog – right to their nose!

Pro Trainer Principles:
“Show” The Treat Means Right To Their Nose!

And finally, use the treat hand to move your dog around and closer to you!

Exercise: Short Luring Recalls

To practice the first part of recalls, try this exercise where you move your dog around using luring, holding the treat right to their face. You can move them in a circle, figure-8, or just back toward you. Remember, for this part you should not use any voice commands yet. 

Now try:

Recalls Using Treats In The Face

Part 2: Silly Voice

If you use a silly, happy voice, your dog will want to come over and be near you simply because you’re fun and happy. Try to make the voice like in these video sand see what your dog does. 

Pro Trainer Principles:
If You Don’t Sound Like an Idiot, Then You’re Not Doing It Right!

And just for a few laughs, watch this video, but the voice is actually a good idea!

Part 3: Play Chase!

How Dogs Play

The last part of a recall is where you move yourself in a fun way to get your dog to chase you. Chasing is a big part of how dogs play. If you can do the same thing, your dog will recall to you – and be super happy while doing it! It also helps to lean over a bit to be a bit more fun, instead of standing up totally straight. 

First, to review, here’s how dogs look when they play chase with each other: 

Now You Try!

Now let’s see if you can do the same! Turn and face your dog and walk backwards so they can chase you. If you want to pick up speed, you can even turn to run forward and have them chase you faster!

Now try:

Recalls By Running Backwards

Exercise: Putting It All Together!

Now that you understand all the basic pieces of a recall, you can put them all together in one smooth motion. Put your treat hand at the center of your legs, use your silly happy voice, and walk backwards from your dog while bending over a bit and praising them for being so good! It should look something like this:

Now try:

Recalls With Treats, Happy Voice,
and Body Movement

Part 4: Add A Sit For Extra Politeness

It may also be good to teach your dog to go right into a sit when they get to you. They’ll be so excited that they may want to jump up on you, so adding a sit will help avoid this problem. This is the same as how we teach dogs not JUMPING FOR ATTENTION.

Pro Trainer Principles:
Sitting Is A Dog’s Way Of Saying “Pretty Please!”

Putting everything together, it should look like this: 

Recall Game: Doggie Ping Pong!

This is a fun game you can play if you have 2 or more people for your dog to recall back-and-forth. between. If you don’t have someone to practice with, you can also use a long leash and throw a toy to get your dog far away from you before doing the recall. And make sure to use really smelly treats if you’re outside!

Every time you do a recall, move back a couple more feet so that the distance is longer and longer each time. Make sure your dog gets lots of praise and treats each time too!

Now try:

Recalls Back and Forth

When Do I Practice Recalls?

Recalls are a very important command that should come very naturally for your dog whenever you need it. Recalls should always be FUN! Build up lots of recalls so that when you really need it, it will be a habit for your dog. As a rule of thumb:

Pro Trainer Principles:
Practice 20 Recalls For No Reason For Every 1 Recall That You Actually Need

Finding a safe place to practice recalls can be a huge help for making them super reliable!

Still Have Questions?

Still Have Questions?

Ask About Anything Not Covered In This Lesson

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