Trainer reveals the three biggest recall mistakes people make with their dogs, and how to avoid them

 Dog playing fetch in autumn park with colorful toy ball
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Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the video cited below.

Are you struggling with your dog's refusal to come when you call them? If so, you might be accidentally making one of several common recall mistakes.

While there are plenty of possible reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable, there are definitely things we can unknowingly do as pet parents that can exacerbate the issue.

To help you avoid these, expert trainer Adam Spivey has put together a handy Instagram video in which he shares the most common recall mistakes he sees dog owners making and how to avoid them.

Read on to find out more...

1. Standing still and repeatedly issuing the 'come' command: As Spivey explains in his video, if you stand still and keep saying the word 'come' your dog is unlikely to want to come back to you when they've found something exciting that they're wanting to engage with.

"Instead, when you call your dog and say 'come', move backwards. Moving backwards encourages the dog to come toward you," says Spivey. 

2. Moving in the same direction as your dog: "When your dog sees something, nearly every dog on the planet looks to see where their handler is. It's at that moment if you're walking towards your dog, your dog goes 'great, we're going in that direction, I'm going to go in that direction. 

"The moment a dog looks back at you, you need to be going in the opposite direction," Spivey explains. You then give your dog a clear choice — do they risk losing you in a bid to go after whatever has captured their attention, or do they come back to you? 

"A lot of dogs will come back and follow their owner," says Spivey.

3. Letting your dog off the leash when it has no recall: "Letting your dog off the lead before it's ready is giving your dog opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to  run after things and learn it can ignore you and you can't stop it.

"Have your dog on a 30 foot lunge line or an outdoor training line until your dog is ready to be 100% off lead," Spivey advises. 

While all dogs are unique, the tips shared above by Spivey are a great place to start if you're looking to train a reliable recall. 

If after working with your pup for several months on this issue you still feel their recall isn't what it should be, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer for support.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.