Recall Training Your Puppy

Recall Training Your Puppy

The Importance of a Recall  

Recall training your puppy and teaching them to return to you is one of the most important things you can train your dog to do. It not only keeps them safe, but provides more freedom for them throughout their life.

Your dog should not be off a leash in public without a good recall or knowing their name, so it is essential to teach them this as early as you can and when they are still in the puppy stage. 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.

Dawn Greer, Professional Dog Trainer

Dawn has been working and training with dogs for over 15 years. She has a Certificate in Canine Studies and a Certificate in Canine Behaviour & Psychology.

She is an advocate for the use of positive reward-based training methods, and enjoys watching how each dog learns, what motivates them, and how they react to challenges. She participates in many online training courses with trainers across the globe about various aspects of play training, obedience, and agility.

She currently shares her life with her dogs ranging in age from 16 years to 12 weeks. She has represented Ireland at the World Agility Open and the European Open Championships and has also represented Ireland in the International Agility Event at Crufts. She is a spokesperson for the Petmania Puppy Club where she has demonstrated her knowledge and expertise in obedience training young puppies.

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-for me, I chose the word ‘come’ for my puppy, Wow. When I want her to come back to me, I call her name to get her attention, and then say the word ‘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 will help with your pup’s recall training.

Recall Training-Step by Step

  1. Start off with your puppy on a short leash.
  2. Throw a treat or toy away from you and when your pup starts to come back with it, say ‘come.’
  3. Repeat this process until your pup has mastered it, and once they are ready, increase the distance until they are able to come back to you on a longer leash.
  4. Once they have gotten the hang of it, throw in some distractions such as other people or toys while giving the command, to help your pup understand they must return to you.
  5. Once they are responding to their name and recall word and coming back to you, you could play games such as hide and seek. Call them from another room, and when they find you, give them lots of praise and rewards. This is a great way to not only bond with your dog but train them to come back to you as well.
dawn greer and her puppy wow recall training outside in her garden

Generalise the Command

Dogs don’t generalise well-just because they have mastered the word ‘come’ and other commands inside the house, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will obey when they are outside, such as in the garden or the park when there are lots of distractions around.

In order to generalise the command, you must gradually get your puppy used to it. Start off inside the house in a quiet place with little distractions so they can focus on you. Then, move into a busier room with more distractions-maybe the kitchen, or the living room, where there are people.

Once they are ready, move to a quiet corner of the garden, before eventually moving to a busy part-set up some distractions such as toys or have other people come out.

Once you see your pup consistently returning to you both indoors and outdoors in your garden, you can bring them to a quiet part of a public park. Before you know it, they’ll be coming back to you and obeying your commands in busy parks.

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.

Training your puppy, whether it is for recall or going to the toilet, should always be a positive and fun experience. Negative associations such as punishment for not obeying a command can impede the training progress, so always keep it light-hearted and enjoyable!

Interested in knowing more about training your puppy? Check out my crate training blog here!

As always, Petmania staff are more than happy to answer any questions or help with any concerns you might have about training your pup, whether it is recall, toilet or crate training.


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