Tried and Tested Recall Top Tip!

Recall, the art of getting your dog to come back to you when called. Coming away from play time, sniffs and eating week old fried food. The desired behaviour is to do it straight away…most dogs get there in the end. 10 calls later and a very pissed off owner.

Anyway, this blog post is about a top tip for you the dog owner to get a better recall, by just using you! Yes only you, no extra treats or toys, only you and your bare hands! HOW, you cry!

Well it’s easy-peasy and something you will claim your already doing, but I bet your not.

Drum roll please….

Recall the dog, cuddle it and touch its head and collar…

Easy huh?

But most people get it wrong, oh so wrong, not on purpose but by being so eager to reward their dog mid way on the recall, by shouting “GOOD DOG” at them when their half way, which usually cues most dogs  to wandered off at this point as they have got their reward.

The other fatal mistake is to get a tasty bribery treat out, get the dog to come to you and sit, then reward that sit at arms length. As soon as you get that lead out, POOF! The dog is off.

You are so eager to get the dog to come to you, you make silly mistakes that can ruin a recall in any dog.

Go back to basics and teach your dog to come to you, for you. Yes some dogs are difficult and need bribery, I’m fine with that but for some something  as simple as calling them to you, cuddling them, sticking your hand under their collar and giving them a good scratch it far better than any ball or treat.

I always encourage people to touch their dogs collar, scruff and head on walks as part of the recall. Your dog should come back to you completely on a walk, be leaning on you, not sitting 5 ft away, there should be physical touching. Making this physical touch part of your routine on recall reduces the likely hood of your dog legging off once they come back to you. If you already have a grip on their collar when you produce the lead, they can’t disappear off as you already have a hold of them. It is also useful for emergencies, if your dog is already used to holding its collar when you call it in, if their is a need to do it E.g. loose sheep or dog on the run, you already have control and the dog is less likely to do an impression of a beached fish in order to escape!

Your dog should want to come to you, for you, while not every dog will get that, most will if you start them right, and soon enough you get a dog that will recall from other dogs mid play or away from running sheep.

You might think I’m reinventing the wheel here, and maybe I am but its so basic that people forget to do it. Instead opting for going over the top with other things.


Touch your dog on a recall, it’s really that simple to help create a better recall! Give them a cuddle, give them a pat and reward them for their recall. 

Kathryn Jones FdSc AAB
A Clever Approach to Dog Training and Behaviour