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Dog Recall Tutorial: Dog Recall Secret That Makes Your Dog Come, EVERY Time

I'm Jess Rollins. I'm a professional reward based dog trainer for over ten years and the founder of

Today I want to talk to you about teaching your dog to come when called or recall.

Most people don't need me to tell them why to train this behavior. Most people want it. But let me tell you of things you might not have thought of in the way that I use it. I actually use the recall for behaviors that are difficult, like jumping on people, barking at things.

Maybe your dog has picked up something you don't want them to have in their mouth, or you want them to leave something like a prey or poop or something like that. If your recall is well trained and it takes time, you can use it for all of those things.

So let me tell you. Oh, and you can also use it for exercise, right? And it's just a great way to bond with your dog because we're going to make it fun. So what you're going to need is some treats, which I have here. And you're going to need a marker word. I mean, a reward, a recall word.

So your recall word can be anything, but I want it to be something you can shout loudly and maybe a little bit of a sing song so it sounds unique. And I would start fresh with a new word. My favorite is here. Said like that. Look. And Samalea has never heard that word, but just me saying it that way got her attention.

This is Somalea. She's the same Bernard, and we haven't practiced this. So anyways, let's get back to it. So we choose a word we say loudly, proudly, and then we have our food. That's all we need besides our dog. And we want to start in a non distracting environment.

This is Somalea's yard, so that's pretty low stress, low distraction, but you could start inside even better. So what we're going to do is first start with just getting her away from me so I can call her to me.

And I'm going to do that by tossing a treat. Find it. So she's looking for the treat. I'm going to wait for her to be done taking her time here. Good girl, good girl. And then I touch her collar and feed. She doesn't have a collar on, but we're just going to pretend. So let me do that again.

We start with find it. She didn't see me. She can happen when you do your find it. Make sure she sees you. Make sure your dog sees you. Ready? Find it. Especially if they haven't done it before. And then we're going to have our treat ready here. Good girl, good girl. So good feed. Touch the collar.

So what am I doing there? Let's break it down. I'm waiting for the dog to finish eating. I'm saying my word in a happy, loud voice. I take a couple of steps back that tends to draw them in. I'm praising excitedly the whole way they come.

And what most people don't get right here is starting the praise as soon as she turns her head. Let's see. Maybe you have a better view from this way. Let me try that. Find it. I'm waiting here. Good girl. Good girl. So good. Yay. Good girl. And that's pretty darn easy, right? And it is easy.

However, the hard part of getting the recall where you're going to want it to be is practicing on all the levels of distraction. So right now, not much distraction outside. By itself, it's a little bit of a distraction, but let's say there was a person walking on the street right here.

That would be a high distraction. She's not ready for that right now. And so we want to go systematically through a list for my clients. I create a list for them. But it's things like, okay, we're outside and she's looking at something else, right? Like maybe she's sniffing something, but it's not super intense.

And we start close by. And then as she gets more practice and she starts to understand this and she's turning right away, we get a little more distance.

We work in more distracting environments, like, can she do it in the rain?
Can she do it when someone else is holding a toy? Can she do it when someone else is holding food?
Can she do it when I throw a toy?

So we build our way up. If we fail, we just go back and make it easier. What I often tell people is have the distance and get in your dog's peripheral.

So if your dog's not coming and she's 20ft away, get to be 10ft and kind of go to the side so she can see you do your recall. Word again, back up a little bit and praise the whole way.

Praising the whole way right from the moment of getting their attention is really crucial. So that's, I think, mostly what I want to say. And now I want to talk about adding a few helpful things to your recall once it's trained a little bit.

What I like to do is add a sit and stay to my recall so that the dog's not just coming and bouncing right off of me and going back to whatever they were doing. So the way that I train that, see if I can do it with Somalea, she's not really ready for this stage. And she's also relaxed. Come on, you ready? Find it. So we're going to add a sit and a stay.

Show you how that works. Want to wait for her? Finish eating here. Good girl. Good girl. Yay. So I'm going to lure that sit, feed, and then stay. I'm just going to feed at the rate that keeps the dog with me free. And when I'm all done, I say free or whatever. Release word you want to do.

The really important takeaways here. Every time you use your recall special word, you must reward your dog with food and or play.

That's another piece I wanted to bring in. So half of the time, once you get this trained, I want you to do your recall feed and then play. So you might run away, come and get me. Or you might toss a toy. Don't chase your dog, though, because that will be a little bit counter to what we want to do here.

So we're adding our sit and stay and play. So the key takeaways, like I said, you always reward the behavior with this word. Don't let other people use this word and not reward it. And if you have a failure, you're not correcting. You're not getting upset, you're just saying, okay, what distractions are here?

How can we make this easier for her? What food do I have? Do I have Cheerios when there's squirrels around? So we're going to need probably fresh meat or cheese working outside. What else can I tell you? I think that's about it, guys.

So this is one of my favorite things to train. And actually, if you train only one thing, this would be the one. Because like I said, you can use it for jumping, barking as an alternative to drop it, leave it, of course, when they're running free.

And I've gotten to lots of success with dogs where they can come off of a ball being thrown of their person, showing them a food. And once you go through the lessons, it goes through like that. So you just have to be systematic. Set your dog up for success and move to the next level.

Okay, guys, thanks so much for watching. Have fun training your dogs. Bye.
Jess Rollins

The Author:

Jess Rollins

Jess Rollins and Pet Expertise's Mission is to Help You to Maximize Your Dog's Potential!

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