Does your dog have a rock solid recall?

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Someone sent me a link to this news story about a Texas dog owner being caught on video (taken inadvertently by a neighbor’s Ring security camera) beating her dog. The person whose security camera caught the event posted the clip on a social media site, where it was viewed by neighbors – and eventually, a local law enforcement officer. The local police department shared the video even more widely, asking for the community’s help in identifying the woman. Eventually, the woman was identified and questioned. Her explanation for her behavior? “Police say the woman admitted she hit her dog after she was forced to chase him when he ran from home.”

Well, beating and kicking him is a great way to make him want to be home. (SARCASM ALERT.)

It should be obvious that hitting and kicking a dog teaches a dog NOTHING (except perhaps to run faster from his or her abuser next time).

It’s strange to me, however, that many people struggle with keeping their dogs inside when their doors or gates are open – and with being able to recall their dogs from some tempting fun.

Train a recall often and make it fun

Waiting inside door, no force or fear required

When people come to my house, they will undoubtedly be met at the door by my canine greeters. When I open the door, many (if not most) people who don’t know my dogs personally will initiate some sort of blocking maneuver, as if to prevent the dogs from escaping out the door. I am forever saying, “It’s okay! They aren’t going anywhere! Look, they come right back!” (Of course, I could tell my dogs to stay inside instead of allowing them to go outside when I’m letting someone into the house; they’re perfectly capable of holding a sit-stay or down-stay indoors – but I rarely consider this, as it’s not even slightly a problem if they slip outdoors; I can call them back without fail.)

I’m not bragging; their recall is something we practice constantly, if not daily. And it’s not a chore or a drill, I keep it fun! Often when I call them, it’s to initiate a game of fetch or hide-and-seek. Sometimes they get lunch meat, or scraps of my lunch. Sometimes I call them in from chasing a squirrel – and their reward for a prompt recall is encouragement to go chase the squirrel again! I keep our recall practice unpredictable, enjoyable, and always rewarding in some way.

Here’s how to train – and maintain – a solid recall

For more about keeping your dog’s recall fresh and quick, see the following WDJ articles:

Training an “Extremely Fast” Recall: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/leash_training/training-your-dog-to-execute-an-extremely-fast-reliable-recall/

Using a Long Line to Teach Off-Leash Recalls: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/on-leash-training-blossoming-into-off-leash-reliability/

Rocket Recall: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/leash_training/rocket-recall/

Games for Building a Reliable Recall: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/leash_training/games-for-building-reliable-recall-behavior-for-your-dog/

Also, here is a good one about stopping a door-dasher, without any beating or kicking required:  https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/behavior/put-a-stop-to-door-darting-dogs/

12 COMMENTS

  1. The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (also called DDEAF) has an excellent website with lots of resources for owners of deaf dogs. We used it a lot when one of our dogs went deaf, it was very helpful. I don’t know if I can put the link in this post, but they are at deafdogs . org

    A lot of people who get a younger dog who is deaf will use a “V collar” or vibration collar. This is NOT an “e collar” or shock collar— The V collar just makes a little buzz to get the dog’s attention. It is not painful in any way, although it can be startling until your dog get used to it. They have a lot of materials on how to use one well. You can start by just putting the collar next to the dog or even wearing it on your own arm and introduce the buzz that way. Then maybe hanging on the dog’s harness. Again, just so they get a chance to associate the buzz with lots of treats.

    Personally I would strongly recommend not getting one of the E collars that has a buzz setting because it’s too easy to accidentally use the setting that hurts. Just get one made for vibration only if you can.

    You can then use this to get your dog’s attention for longer distance recalls. So it can give you both a lot more freedom than if you are relying on your dog looking at you in order to see the recall signal.

    (I think most people don’t use the V collar as a recall signal itself, it’s basically just like calling the dog’s name. It means “look at me and I am going to give you another cue.”)

    If you don’t want to try the v collar (and some older dogs just don’t like it) , another alternative is to carry a tin with a very smelly treat inside. We used some really stinky salmon treats. We met other people who used sardines or tripe or even super smelly cheese. When you open the container, most dogs will whip their heads around and look at you hopefully. Some will even run right up to you. It’s a good way of getting their attention, except that you can only use it once in a specific area because the smell will linger. With the V collar you can just buzz again 10 minutes later so it’s better for “catch and release” play sessions.

    We practice recalls with all our dogs all the time, at least a couple times a day, and they’ve all been really good at them. I think it’s just one of those behaviors that you have to keep training for the dog’s whole life if you want to keep it sharp.

    • Thank you for your very detailed response. My dog is about 8 (not sure, he was rescued) and only became deaf during this past year. I will definitely look into the v collar and the deafdog.org.

  2. One more thing I wanted to mention it on the subject of recalls… Patricia McConnell ( The other end of the leash) has a great idea that we started using 15 or 20 years ago and really like. Each of her dogs has an individual name that they will respond to, but she also has a group name for all her dogs. We used “Doggos.” The point is that you can teach some behaviors with both the group cue and the individual cue. And it’s especially good for recalls. So at our house 10 years ago when Dilly and Tulip were both out in the yard, I could call “Dilly, come!” if he was the only one I wanted. Or “Doggos, come!” And they would both come. Saved time and was very practical. You do have to keep practicing all the variations, though.

    We didn’t put all our cues on the group name, but we did use it with Come, Wait, Sit, and Down.

    • I foster and generally walk 5 to 8 dogs at a time, so I cannot call them individually. My recall cue is “Pack ’em in.” The whole pack returns to my side immediately. New fosters learn this command immediately from watching the other dogs.

    • Good point. I tend to call mine as a group “puppers” or “pups” (as in “See you later, puppers!” or “dinnertime, puppers!”). Never thought about purposely training a cue as a group, though.

  3. I back my SUV out of the garage and honk the horn, they all love to go for rides so they come running as fast as they can. I also have a deaf Dalmatian, and he follows the others. I do not drive the SUV on the drive at all with fear of hitting one.. They know the horn sound.
    We have 8 acres fenced in and they love to escape into the front yard. By the way we have one smart Dalmatian that opens doors and we have installed door closers to all doors that lead to the front yard. They are like toddlers!! Gotta watch them, and be one step in front at all times. We have 4 Dalmatians .

  4. Well first that “women” and many others like her should not have a dog!! I have my first ever dog. I take this responsibility very serious and go to positive reinforcement training. I’ve done everything you have suggested as well. Treat is my word…. Anna actually gave up chase of a bunny in the yard when I yelled TREAT…..the training works and I’m so proud of my girl.

  5. CAB 토토 사이트 홍보를 해 왔던 총판입니다.
    작년12월부터 총판 수익금 526만원을 못받아서
    이렇게 먹튀 사이트에 글을 올리게 됐습니다,
    홍보를 꾸준히 해 오다가 홍보 방법이 막혀서 사전에 CAB운영진의 양해를 구해서
    7-8개월동안 홍보방법을 찾기위해 홍보를 못했습니다,
    그러다 올해 5월부터 홍보방법을 찾아서 홍보를 하다가
    도메인이 유해 사이트로 떠서 새로운 도메인 셋팅을 해 달라고 부탁드렸더니
    충분히 기다릴만큼 기다렸다고 도메인 셋팅을 안해주더군요,,
    홍보 준비하는 기간동안에 수익금은 500만원이 넘어 있었고,나는 정산금보다
    홍보를 계속하고 싶었는데,
    갑자기 도메인 셋팅을 안해준다고 하니,,,황당하더군요
    그래서 도메인 셋팅 안 해 줄거면 정산금을 정산해 달라고 햇더니
    “6개월반이나 기다려 아무성과가 없어서 정산금을 못주겟다네요,,
    그래도 5월에는 많지는 않지만 10여명정도 가입이 있었고,이제 어느정도 효과를 볼려고
    하는데
    정산금 주기 싫어서 같이 일을 못하겟다고 하니,,,이게 먹튀가 아니고 뭔가요?
    내가 이렇게 글을 올리는것도 사전에 CAB운영진에 미리 얘기를 드렸고,마음대로 하라고 하면서
    관리자 비번과 텔레그램까지 차단했고,CAB 사이트에 자세히 알아보니,일반 유저 먹튀도 여러건 발견되어
    이대로 나두면 안되겠다는 생각이 들어 이렇게 글을 올립니다.
    일단 저와 제가 아는 동생이 CAB에서 놀았던 입금 계좌를 경찰에 아는분한테 제출을 할겁니다.
    지금 CAB을 이용하고 계신분이나 이용하실분들은 나중에 통장 계좌가 노출되어 경찰 조사를 받는일이
    없도록 CAB토토사이트 이용을 자제해 주시기 바랍니다,
    그리고 CAB토토 사이트도 상황이 복잡해지면 일반유저 먹튀도 예상되니까,
    가능하면 다른 사이트 이용을 부탁드립니다!!

  6. Very timely! My Pointer started to take off after a wild animal when I let him out to potty at 2 a.m. today. Thankfully, he has a rock solid recall and skidded to a stop and turned around when I called him. Some of my dogs are better than others. He’s one of the best. Good reminder to brush up on the other dogs’ recalls.

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