Recall Training Your Dog

Recall Training Your Dog

Recall training your dog and teaching them to return to you when called is one of the most important things you can train your dog to do. It ensures their safety as well as the safety of others around you, while also giving them more freedom. Every time we ask our dog to come back to us, we are asking them to stop what they are doing and turn away from whatever is holding their interest. In order to build a reliable recall, we must teach our dogs that being near us is the most fun thing to do and will bring them the most rewards.

Whether you find yourself in an emergency situation, around other dogs or distractions outdoors, it is vital that your dog finds it rewarding to respond to you and seek your interaction.

samantha roawson and her dog-1

Samantha Rawson CAAB

Champion dog trainer Samantha Rawson is a certified behaviour & training consultant with almost thirty years of experience the Canine College.  She has trained two rescue dogs to IKC working trials champions. Samantha is the regular dog expert on KCLR96FM and The Ray D’arcy Show on RTE Radio 1. She is passionate about dogs and their mental physical and emotional welfare.  Samantha believes in relationship based training founded on trust respect and play.

Call Their Name

For your dog to have a good recall, they must understand their name. Every time you interact with them or speak to them, always use their name so they can get used to hearing it.

The next step is to pick a recall word for your dog to help them understand what you want them to do. When you want your dog to come back to you, you can call their name, or call other recall words, such as ‘come.’  Your recall word can be anything you want, but make sure you are consistent. Just because they understand the word ‘come’ doesn’t mean they will understand ‘come here’. Patience, consistency and lots of rewards and praise will help with your dog’s recall training.

Equipment Needed:

dog trainer samantha rawson and her dog rascal
dog trainer samantha rawson and her dog rascal recall training

Step by Step Guide on Recall Training Your Dog

  • Attach a recall line to your dog. Make sure to prepare lots of tasty treats that they would like, and find a quiet and safe place to practice your recall such as your garden. The less distractions (such as people or other dogs) the better.
  • The main thing with recall training is to work on having a great bond with your dog so he wants to come back you. This can be by playing, praising or rewarding with treats. A good recall needs a good relationship between you and your dog.
  • Have your friend hold the recall line while you walk away. As difficult as it might be, make sure your friend doesn’t interact with your dog. We want the dog to want to get to you.
  • Then stop and face your dog, put your arms out and call them towards you.
  • As they are running towards you, catch the recall line. Never physically grab your dog as they will learn to become evasive and learn to distrust you.
  • Shower them with lots of praise, and smiles before you give them a treat. This helps to reinforce your bond.
  • Practice in different areas once they are ready. Using a recall lead, start off at home and progress to busier areas that are safe and secured.

Always remember to gradually build this up. If your dog fails a step, don’t get angry or upset; simply withhold the reward and move back one step. If they ignore you in the busy part of the garden, it’s time to go back to the quiet part again.


It’s very important for your dog to be given the opportunity to play afterwards and to relax in order for them to process the lesson. If your dog is struggling to understand you, they might be too young; take a break, and try again. If you are still struggling with this, check out my website here.

It’s essential not to take your dog off their lead or let go of the recall line until you are confident that they have a solid recall.

Got a Question?

As always, the Petmania staff will be able to assist you in making the right choice for your dog when it comes to leads, harnesses and more. If you have any questions at all, be sure to pop in store or message online and they’d be happy to help. For more on training your dog and expert behavioural tips, be sure to visit my website here. 

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