Training a Puppy Recall

Recall or getting your dog to come back to you when called is possibly the most important thing you will ever teach your dog and is probably the thing most owners neglect or fail miserably with.

There has been much written about training recall and when to start but it’s really quite simple, it’s all about three things, repetition, consistency and starting early, the earlier the better.

Dogs learn by association and anything you want your dog to do has to be associated with something positive, for example a piece of tasty food. So, how do you start teaching a puppy to come when called? You start in a room with only you and the puppy and no distractions, have some tasty treats ready, wait until the puppy is looking at you and crouch down low and say the puppy’s name followed by the command come. You must speak in a soft happy tone, high pitched but not screechy. When the puppy comes to you give him the treat and say good boy, repeat this 2 or 3 times then stop. You can do this a number of times a day but keep the sessions short and only call your puppy when he is looking at you, you must always set your puppy up for success, he must come to you every time you call him he must never fail. This is very, very important, you must not call him unless you are 100% certain that he will come, if you do not follow this rule you will fail.

Practice this for about a week in different rooms but still with no distractions until your puppy is confidently bounding up to you every time you call him.

Mollie, one of my Cocker Spaniels at 11 weeks

Once your puppy is coming quickly and confidently to your voice it is time to introduce the whistle. The main reasons for using a whistle are, the sound it makes is always consistent which means there is less chance of communicating anxiety or fear to your dog and the sound carries much further than your voice, particularly in windy conditions. So, go and get yourself a lanyard and an Acme dog whistle not the silent type which in my view are useless, I use a two eleven and a half pitch which is a good all rounder.

Now that you have your whistle all you need to do to train your dog to come to the whistle is, every time you call your dog, immediately blow the whistle, 2 or 3 rapid peeps using your tongue. Repeat the process following the same rules as before then after a few days stop using your voice. Gradually move to different locations with no distractions when your puppy is 100% consistent, gradually bring in distractions, slowly increasing in severity.

Good luck and remember, stay calm and be consistent.

If you feel that your are not up to doing this on your own please call me on 07872 575672 and I will guide you through the process ensuring you get it 100% right.

K9Care Dog Training
7 Makbrar Drive, Dumfries
Tel: 07872 575672