Importance of Recall

Jackie Gibbons ● June 24, 2022

Have you ever been at a park and hear “come come COME”, then see the dog still off in the distance not paying attention to their owner? Luckily the reason for the recall is just to go home and not a life or death situation. However, this cue should be so reliable that when the dog hears the cue, he immediately recalls. Easier said then done I know. Below are a few tips.

Getting started

Don’t use a vocal cue at first. Start with making a new sound towards them, backing away from the dog, and making yourself exciting by clapping your hands etc. Combining all three things typically will get all dogs to move towards you. Reward with high value, meaning food they really love, or lots or play time or toys.


Using the sounds to get his attention (whistle, trills, kisses, etc) make the distance or distraction harder. Important: only make one thing harder. If you start with adding a food distraction stay at the same distance. Or if you move further keep the same distraction level as before.

Adding Vocal Cue

Once the dog is reliable at recalling add the word you want to use. Remember dogs don’t know the meanings of words and you can use whatever word you would like. Preferably a word they have not heard before. Some cool words I’ve heard are “shazam” “danger” “boom” “hey now”. Say the recall word right before the noises you have been making. Example “Shazam” “trill”. When does comes over reward with high value treats and give a little more than usual. Make the association strong that when I come good or great things happen.

Continue Practice

Same as step 2 but now with the recall cue you have chosen. Make sure that once it is reliable you continue to reward the behavior. This means that when the dog recalls it is not always followed by the end of play. While they are playing, recall them and do a few obedience cues, then release them back to play. This ensures that the dog will continue to associated recall as a good things even if it ends the fun sometimes.