Here is the continuation of our previous article about teaching a reliable come when called for your dog.


A game played by multiple family member households. You can use a long line if necessary. Children get the best treats. Adult stands behind the child in the beginning if necessary. Make a circle or square and call the dog between family members.


Allow the dog to drag a long line in the backyard or safe fenced area. If you call the dog and he does not respond bring him in to you by the long line. Praise and release the dog to go back to exploring.


Use a tennis ball or a squeak toy to get a distracted dog’s attention.

Until you are sure your dog will come when called do not use your recall word unless you can enforce the recall. Just say the dog’s name and if necessary move away from the dog.

Moving away will usually entice a dog to move toward you. Moving toward a dog will cause it to move away from you. When a dog comes to me I ask it to SIT in front and slip my hand into the collar then I treat and praise.

At some point we do have to take a leap of faith and let the dog loose. I do this in a secure area with a dog that has a perfect recall as a partner. I start to walk the field and reward the dog whenever it runs back to me, then I add a name and reward since it is usually following the other dog back to me. Then I add the command “come or here” and reward. The reward may be treats, a tennis ball, a squeaky depending on the dog. Of course the biggest reward of all is they are once again told to “Go Play”.

If the dog decides not to play my game I don’t waste my voice. I play with the second dog and when it checks us out I put the dog back on leash and go back a few training steps and try again in a week.

Once a dog is coming reliable when called you may wish to add a whistle as a long distance cue to come. The new cue, the whistle is taught using the formula: New cue followed by old cue equals behavior. This is an easy way to teach a new cue for an old behavior because dogs are anticipatory learners

It is never too late to retrain a good reliable recall!

Jeanne Hampl #962