Beginning Basic Obedience                                                  Recall



·         Teaching your dog to come to you is one of the most important commands you can teach him.

·         You need to have this type of control over your dog for safety reasons.



Important Note:  In class we will do Stage Two first.  This is to give your dog a positive imprint of the recall command.  If you were in class for this, during week 4 at home you may continue to practice Stage Two and we will do Stage One in class during week 5.  Otherwise you should follow the stages the way they are presented on this handout.

Stage One -  Introduction to command.

·         Beginning Position - You will begin by putting your dog in a DOWN at your left side.  Give the command to STAY and walk around so that you are in front of your dog facing him about 3 inches away from the tip of his toes.

·         Where to Hold the Food - Hold the food in your hand right in front of you so that your dog can see it.  This will encourage him to come to you when given the command to do so.

·         Making Eye Contact - Make sure your have your dog’s attention before you give the command.

·         Tone of Voice - Your tone of voice should be very happy.  You want your dog to think that coming to you when called is one of the best things that he can do.  This needs to be a very positive experience for your dog.

·         Timing of Command - Once your dog has held his stay for awhile (at least 10 seconds) give your command.  If your dog does not respond the first time you give the command you may try again using his name first then your command.

·         When you give the command to COME, you should show that you are happy about your dog coming to you.  Smile and use other positive body language.  You can even pat your leg if it encourages your dog to COME.  (Fido is lying down in front of you, just a few inches away.  After waiting at least 10 seconds and you have his attention, you say COME or HERE.  Fido comes towards you and sits making eye contact.  You give huge praise and a special or favorite treat or toy.)  By huge praise I mean lots of petting, hugs, and “GOOD BOY” etc.

·         Note - When you are standing so close in front of your dog it is natural for most of them to automatically just sit up to come to you.  By being so close in the beginning you really aren’t giving your dog a chance to go anywhere else and you are also teaching your dog the correct position that you want him to be in once he does come to you.

·         What Not To Do - Do not force your dog to come to you.  This exercise works much better when the dog wants to come to you.  If a dog is taught a forced recall there will be times when he will choose not to obey you because it was not a pleasant experience.  When a dog is taught the recall through positive motivation the dog learns that coming to you is one of the best things that he can possibly experience.  NEVER recall your dog to punish him!

·         End of Introductory Stage - Your dog understands that when you give him the command to COME that going to you is a very, very good thing.  You have been able to gradually increase your distance away from him to the end of the 6-foot leash. He also knows to sit in front of you when he comes.


Stage Two -  Fine tuning the command.

·         Now it’s time to incorporate the use of the long line and some opposite reflex for making a solid recall.

·         You will have another person hold onto the long line for you and stand behind your dog.  Put your dog in a frontal sit-stay and you walk about 10 - 20 feet away and face your dog.  Before you leave your dog you should let him see that you have food or a toy.

·         Wait at least 10 seconds and when you tell your dog to COME the other person is going to provide resistance on the leash.  You will need to repeat the command, maybe repeating it a few times and using your dog’s name also.  When your dog is straining on the leash to come to you, the other person gradually allows your dog to pull out the leash.  When your dog starts to run towards you, you run backwards away from your dog.  When your dog has pulled out all of the long line, the other person runs behind the dog until your dog catches up to you.  You slow down to let your dog catch up to you.  Once your dog has reached you, stop and give huge praise and reward.

·         It is very important for the other person to run behind the dog when the dog has pulled out all of the long line (this gives the dog the illusion that they are off leash).  If the person doesn’t begin moving immediately they will end up giving your dog a correction.  A correction will send your dog the message that trying to come to you was a bad thing.  This will undo all of the work and progress you’ve already made with the recall exercise.



·         Always use a positive, happy tone of voice whenever you tell your dog to COME.

·         Always praise and reward your dog in a big way whenever they obey your recall.

·         Use the recall when you give your dog his meals and do off leash recalls in your house.