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Puppy Training Recall-How to Train My Dog to Come when called-Using a Recall Whistle

Updated on March 14, 2011

Puppy Recall

Recall or dog coming when called is probably the most important command you can teach your new puppy.

A puppy that won't come back to you when called is at risk of being hurt, a danger to himself and a nuisance usually to other dog owners.

There is nothing more annoying than screaming at a puppy or older dog for that matter to come back, everybody else's dog comes when called so why won't yours?

In this; my third article dedicated to puppy training for new owners I am going to explain how to teach a puppy the recall command.

Recall means coming straight back to you, no detours, no delays, no fun along the way simply straight back.

Puppy Training Recall

If you have read my hubs on basic puppy training and teach your puppy to sit, stay and wait you will remember that when puppy is given a command, he waits then you return to him.

Recall is different, this is a whole new ball game for a young puppy and in the early stages of learning the recall command he may get confused. Be patient, practice and repetition will prevail.

Recall Your Puppy to a Whistle

This part of your puppy training is optional, I prefer to train recall to a whistle for the following reasons:

Puppies respond to whistles.

A whistle differentiates your command from other voices. How many times do you see well meaning passers by and children calling the cute little puppy, try to imagine how confusing that is to a puppy that doesn't speak your language.

A whistle allows you to recall your puppy over a longer distance.

If you prefer not to use a whistle decide on your verbal command "COME" or "HERE", make it a one word command and do not under any circumstances use the same command for anything else, well actually there is one activity when you can use it and it will help your training.You can use the same command to call your puppy to his food, this will speed up his learning as he will associate recall command with food.

The same rules apply as with sit, stay and wait; you whistle or call once and you expect puppy to respond on your one and only command.

Puppy Training Success

Teaching a puppy the recall command early on in his training means you have a distinct advantage.

All and I mean all young puppies follow people, especially people that feed them.

Use this natural following instinct to make recall an easy lesson to learn. When your puppy is following you back away from him, give him the recall command, let him catch you up then praise him or offer a small treat.

Over a period of time increase the distance between you and your puppy, he will be only to eager to catch you when you call him.

Always give your puppy the chance to succeed, in order to create success in puppy training you must create the correct environment. Early recall training is best done in the house or in your own backyard.

Once you get outdoors where there are so many more distractions, smells, people and other dogs; training becomes more difficult.


Dog Recall Training Video

Teaching Recall Outdoors

Once your puppy is able to go outdoors, find a quiet place with few distractions or hazards.

Let your puppy of the lead and walk away in an opposite direction to him, "Do Not Call Him", if he follows his instinct and training he will follow you.

When he catches you give him plenty of praise and a "Big Treat", he deserves a big treat outdoors because there are so many other things he could have done.

Keep doing this exercise over and over, never walk in a straight line, change direction often as this way your puppy learns to keep his eye on you and subsequently follow you.

Now you can start to add in your recall whistle or command. When your puppy starts coming in your direction, give him your recall command and praise him when he gets there.

Over time and as your puppy matures he will get braver and more inquisitive, he will come across other dogs and fun things to do, he will increase his distance from you. This is when you need your recall command to be instinctive and consistent.


Recall Training Should be Exciting

As your puppy gets more consistent at immediate recall vary his treats.

Always praise him when he returns but give a treat on the second or third recall. Doing it this way now makes it even more exciting for your puppy as he doesn't know on which recall he will get his favourite treat.

A common mistake people make when teaching recall is this one:

When it is time for your walk to finish; you call in your puppy; put his lead on and take him home.

Have a look around at how many dog owners spend time shouting at a dog or even worse chasing a dog when it's time to go home.

What you have actually taught him is that if he comes to you his fun is over.

The easiest way to overcome this is; during your training sessions when he returns to you, touch his collar, put his lead on, praise him, give him a treat, take his lead off again and let him have another bit of fun. He will no longer associate the recall command with going home, simply treat or no treat, his best option is to come to you and find out.


Repetition and Practice

All puppy training requires patience, repetition and practice.

You can never teach puppy recall too often, make it fun, make it exciting and make it instinctive. Most of all enjoy the quality bonding time you have together and become the master of a happy obedient puppy.

Good luck and do let me know if it worked for you!



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