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Getting a Solid Recall

  • Heidi

It Takes More Than Practice

We all want our dogs to come when called, no matter what. In fact, it’s a skill that can even save their life if they’re heading straight toward something dangerous. However, no matter how much we want a solid recall every time, it can remain just out of reach. But why?


It’s true that practice makes perfect, especially with recalls.

To teach recalls, you have to spend time working with your dog every day, and you have to practice it hundreds of times the same way – every time. That means picking a cue word and sticking to it each time you use it.

This aspect of recall training turns your dog’s reaction into a reflex, so the first thing they do is start running toward you when they hear their cue. But that’s only part of a solid recall.


This crucial component of recall training is often overlooked.

Recalls are also a relationship-based behavior that rely heavily on a strong bond. That means your dog needs to trust what will happen if they come to you when called, otherwise they are less willing to do it.

Think of how you’ve used recalls with your dog in the past. Do any of these situations sound familiar?

  • Calling them away from something fun, like playing with their friends at the dog park.
  • Calling them over only to chastise them for some other “bad” behavior.
  • Calling them without giving them a good reward.

These are mistakes that all owners make with their dogs, but they can leave a dog questioning their desire to come when called.

So, while a solid recall definitely takes practice, it should also always involve everything that your dog loves best, mainly:

  • Yummy food
  • Fun
  • Praise

But most of all, attention and affection from you.

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