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Reliable recall- is it a myth?

Let’s set the scene…… Meet Rover and his Owner!


Many dog owners think that a reliable recall is just a dream, a myth that is not achievable.  A lot of dog owners who call us for training advice have problems with achieving a reliable recall.


Rover. ready to have some off-leash fun!


It’s a beautiful day for a nice walk with your best friend, your sidekick, Rover.

You walk to the local park, you spy other dogs to play with.  Rover spots them too, he is super excited to make some new friends!  They look like they like racing around too.

Oh and ‘Ball, yes it’s a ball’.  Rover can’t wait to run after that ball and play fetch with all his new friends.  This is so much FUN.

And that’s it, the leash is off and it’s fun fun fun playtime.

Rover spends the next 30 minutes racing round, making new friends, chasing after balls, chasing a squirrel, tongue flapping in the wind, loving life.

And then it ends!  It’s time to go home…. ROVER COME!

But Rover doesn’t come- he is having too much fun! He doesn’t want the fun to end.

Then the frustration sets in, why is Rover not coming back when I call him?  It’s time to go! Let’s go… no more fun playtime now!

This might sound like a funny story but we always say that if you teach your dog one thing, it should be recall, recall, reliable recall.  It is the MOST important skill to teach your dog.  It might one day save your dogs life!  So we have come up with some handy tips for you to try.


Here are some tips we have put together to get you started (we will use COME as the recall command):

  • Give MEANING to COME (come, here or another word)- Come = super tasty high reward treat
  • Start off with your dog on a long line, when your dog naturally moves towards you, MARK the action with COME and then give a super high value reward
  • Practice this over and over again- short fun sessions
  • Make it a game- hide (where you can still see your dog) or play a game of chase where your dog runs towards you
  • Minimal distractions- start off in areas of minimal distraction
  • Don’t just call your dog when it’s time to go home
  • Recall your dog and then let them go play again- always mix it up and leave them guessing
  • Recall when your dog is just wandering around- not just when it is time to go home
  • NEVER punish a recall even if it took your dog a while to respond- no bad associations to recall
  • No negative associations to recall training
  • Always make it fun

High pitched excited tone of voice

High value reward

Relaxed body language

Lots of praise

Blyss gets a recall reward- her Frisbee!

Any training you do with your dog should be fun!

Feel free to reach out to us if you specific problems with recall- we can help you and put the fun back into your adventures!  A reliable recall is not a myth and can be achieve with the right training!

Our group classes take place just outside of Columbia Falls.  Winter classes are held inside and provide a safe dog training area to practice recall.

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