How to Teach a Solid Recall

By Sandra Roosna / April 22, 2022

Want a solid recall?

Teach the Hand Target & pay attention to your body movements

The Hand Target is the #1 behavior I recommend to my clients to teach their dog(s). Here’s why:

💜 It is a fantastic way to teach recall.

💜 It encourages your pup to come up to you, as opposed to stopping 2-3 feet away, which is common when teaching a standard recall.

💜 For skittish pups, it offers a safe way to say “hi” to strangers and helps gauge their level of discomfort.

💜 You can move your pup around without using leash pressure, since tension on the leash translates into tension the environment. Consider using it when asking your dog to step on the scale at the vet’s office, getting out of people’s way on the street, or jumping in the car.

💜 Serves as a great movement-based activity when redirecting from triggers. Asking your dog to sit or lay down when they’re excited or nervous can lead to more anxiety. Think of it as trying not to fidget when you’re feeling tense. Moving around helps to reset an anxious dog.

💜 It is a fun and easy behavior for dogs to learn!

We are constantly communicating with our dogs, whether we realize it or not. A single glance or hand movement may be meaningless to us, but tells a very detailed story to your dog. Try to be mindful of how your actions come across your pup when interacting with them. Here’s what to look out for specifically when teaching recall:

💜 Stand or move with your side or back to your dog. Facing them directly tends to send a signal that you’re moving towards them, causing them to back away. It can also be read as a sign of threat, making it less likely for your dog to want to approach you.

💜 Though counterintuitive, run away instead of approaching your dog when calling them over. This initiates a game of chase, where your pup starts to run after you. Moving towards your pup will have the opposite effect.

💜 Lower yourself to your dog’s level. It serves as an invitation to come and interact with you playfully!