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Mastering Perfect Recall

Learn the secrets to achieving flawless recall in any situation

Dog behaviour specialist in Melbourne working with a client.JPG

"Come" - What Does it Mean? Rules of "Come"

When I say 'come', I'm asking my dog to drop everything and come straight to me. She should stop in front of me and give me her full attention.


The purpose of calling her could be safety-related, to remove her from a situation. If she runs towards me but then gets distracted or returns to danger, that's not good recall.


Recall ends when I say "let's go," signalling her release.

The Word "Come"

This safety command is non-negotiable.


Your dog must understand that 'come' is NOT optional. When you say it, your dog MUST respond, whether you enforce it or they comply willingly. If you don't mean it, or it's not crucial for your dog to come, don't say the word. Avoid using "come" if you suspect your dog won't obey or if you can't physically ensure they comply.

Step-by-Step Recall Training Process

What you need: Treats and a long leash attached to the collar

  1. Begin in a low-distraction setting where your dog will likely focus on you and the treats

  2. As your dog moves away, apply tension to the leash and say "come" simultaneously

  3. Your dog will feel the pressure and look back

  4. Hold the leash, take a few steps backwards while facing your dog

  5. Your dog will move towards you

  6. Keep moving backward until your dog reaches you

  7. Step on the leash close to you

  8. Immediately reach your treats and reward - be mindful not to reach for the treats until you have stepped on the leash

  9. After treating, say 'let's go', your release word, and release the leash

  10. Gradually increase distractions and difficulty as you practice. Vary the reward, the frequency of the reward, and the amount you offer each time, so your dog gets hooked on returning to you when you call - think gambling in a casino! 


If your dog does not complete the steps, the distractions might be too high. Lower them to ensure success. 


  • Foster a Strong Bond
    Engage in regular play sessions with your dog to strengthen your bond. A strong connection between you and your dog makes it more likely that they will choose to come to you when called.


  • Minimise Uncontrolled Play
    Limit situations where your dog engages in uncontrolled play with other dogs or chases distractions like birds. These activities can undermine your recall training efforts.


  • Be Irresistibly Rewarding!
    Ensure that when your dog does choose to come to you, it's a rewarding experience. Make sure you really party hard with your dog when they choose to listen to your recall command over other tempting distractions.

Troubleshooting Recall Training

If you're struggling with recall training or need additional assistance, please contact Diona for a session!

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