Recall is probably the most important behaviour that you can teach your dog. Having them come to you every time you call could literally be a lifesaver. To begin, you will need to train the foundations of a reliable recall without distractions. With slow and steady progress, you will eventually be able to take it to the dog park to interrupt your dog during play. 

Remember, the best way to build a reliable recall is with patience, persistence, practice and lots of high-value treats. Since you must feed them anyway, making your dog work for a portion of their daily calories is a great option. 

A little extra trick here: YOU have to be exciting. We have to make it fun to make it worth it for our dogs. Call your dog and get moving! You can run in the opposite direction, get down low, clap your hands, slap your thighs, whistle, make crazy alien sounds, and/or squeak a toy! If they even so much as look at you, start your happy talk! Encourage them happily all the way to you and when they get there, be generous with fabulous treats.

“Come”, “Here”, “Quickly”, “Zoom”, “Hurry Up” 


  1. Never call your dog for anything unpleasant. No nail clipping, bathing, or having their leash clipped on to go home from the park. In short, don’t call them for anything that might give them pause the next time you call.
  2. Never call your dog if you are not sure they will come. All recalls should be successful recalls. Work at your dog’s level. If they have a kindergarten-level recall, don’t give them a graduate assignment like being called away from a squirrel or play.
  3. If you call your dog and they don’t come, you must make it happen. Run over to your dog and put a treat in front of their nose. Moving backwards, lure them back to a spot where you have their attention. Reward with the treat. Then, and this is important, release them back to their previous activities with a “go play.” 
  4. Never repeat the cue. Resist the urge to call over and over again. Repeated cues only teach your dog to tune out the cue. Call once and, if necessary, use rule 3 – make the recall happen.
  5. Fabulous rewards get fabulous recalls. If you want your dog to stop what they are doing and come running to you, make it worth their while. Use extra yummy treats—no dry biscuits here—or a well-thrown ball, if that is your dog’s fancy.  Prepare treats well ahead of time (we want them to disconnect food prep from the party) and, if possible, use something that is never given at other times.

Click the checkmark on the left to move onto the next step when you’ve been successful.

Need a refresher on how to effectively train a behaviour? Click here.

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