Here’s how to help your pup build a solid recall, according to one trainer

Two English Springer Spaniels in Field Running Towards Woman with Outstretched Arms
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s important that your dog has a good recall and will come over to you when you ask them to. It’ll make your own life easier, of course, but keep them safe, too – it could even save their life!

However, it can be difficult to help your pup to build a solid recall. Whether you’re a seasoned dog parent or you’re raising a puppy for the first time, you might find it tricky to get things right. Fortunately, certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive, and her dog Aspen, have offered a handy piece of advice in a new Instagram post that could be just what we need! Just grab some of the best dog food and you’ll be good to go. 

“There are a lot of ways to build a reliable recall and using your dog’s meals at mealtimes is an easy way to build training into your everyday routine and as a big reward for responding to this cue,” Goodman begins in her caption. 

“I use mealtimes to fit recall into my normal routine by using Aspen’s food as a jackpot reward,” she says in the video. “If you are by yourself you can toss treats to distract your dog, or have a second person to hold your dog back, which will rev up their engine to want to get to you quicker.”

Goodman explains that a whole meal is a huge reward for responding to the recall cue, but that at the same time, it’s an easy way to practice recall a couple of times a day. 

However, she does say that if your dog doesn’t get excited about their food, or finish their meals in one sitting, it’s best to avoid this training exercise until their food drive is stronger. As she explains, “You want their food to be something they really want, so it’s a valuable award.”

If your dog isn’t food motivated, however, there are some things you can try. You might want to experiment with different foods to see if there’s something your pup is particularly motivated by, and remove distractions too – at least to begin with.

Ensure that your dog isn’t thirsty when you train them with food, too. They might simply not want to eat and risk drying their mouth out more. And, while food can be an invaluable tool in training, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Dogs also love praise, for example. 

If you’re struggling with recall, you might find this article useful: Three reasons why your dog’s recall isn’t reliable (and what you can do about it).

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.