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  • Gemma Johnston

Does Your Dog Come Back When Called?

Updated: Apr 5

Recall is a behaviour that doesn’t happen over night.


There are a few parts to a recall:

  • Establishing the desire “Finishing Position”

  • Distractions

  • Distance


A few points:

  • If your dog can not recall from a 1m away, there is no way your dog can recall across the field away from exciting dogs, birds, people & so on.

  • “Fly Bys” or “Check Ins” are not recalls. If your dog comes back in your direction but continues to run past you or back to where it was, it has not recalled.

  • A lot of dogs don’t know what to do once they have returned to you. Should they be sitting? Standing? Waiting for you to give them another command or are they able to go now they have returned for a few seconds? Therefore establishing a “Finishing Position” is important

  • KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH! Until its recall is proofed. Don’t get to excited & let him off the leash to soon.


Finishing Position – Is what I call a Basic Recall Position which is where the dog Sits in front of you with its chin touching your belt buckle. This is a competition version, but you may want something different.


Such as:

  • Your dog sitting in front in reach to put the leash back on need be

  • Your dog sitting next to you in a Heel Position

  • You dog laying down in front or next to you

  • Your dog standing or dropping between your legs

  • Your dog standing in front or next to you


What ever you desire your finish position to be the dog should be able to understand how to do this behaviour. So teach this first! ONLEASH! And instead of making the command sit, drop, stand or heel. The command is “Come” (Or what ever you wish your recall command to be).


What Are The Next Steps?


Give the dog the full length of you short leash and practice getting your dog to come back into the finish position from this distance. Don't forget to practice around distractions!


Once your dog is acing short leash recall under distractions, its time to add in some more challenges


We can safely increase the distance your dog recalls from by using a long line (5m long leash)

Take things slow when increasing the distance. There is no need to rush & use the full length straight away. Slowly work towards this.


Once your dog has mastered the above, we can incorporate the distractions back into our training. If you make it to difficult for them while they are learning, they are likely to become overwhelmed or not clearly understand what you want them to do.



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