Trainer shares the three biggest recall mistakes people make with their dogs (and how to avoid them)

Australian Shepherd running
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Training a reliable recall is one of the biggest challenges we face as dog owners — and it's not hard to see why! With so many distractions around, getting our dog to listen to us and pay attention is no easy feat.

While it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all you need to get your dog to come back when you call them is a bag of the best dog treats, recall is a bit more complicated than that. 

There could be lots of reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable, but expert trainer Adam Spivey says there are three common mistakes he sees pet parents making regularly that derail their dog's progress when it comes to recall training. 

Read on to discover what Spivey had to share in a recent Instagram post...

1. Letting your dog off leash when they have no recall: Spivey says this is the biggest mistake he sees people making — and correcting this is the first priority. "If your dog can run over to something and you can't stop it, your dog knows you can't stop it and your dog's recall will get worse," he explains.

Instead, what he recommends that you do is invest in a long leash and keep your dog on that. Having them on a long leash means that if they ignore you, you can pick up the slack on that leash and reign your dog in so that they learn there are no negotiations when it comes to what you're asking them to do. 

2. Taking your dog to the same place: "If you only ever go to the same place but nowhere else it means that when you do go to a new place, your dog is overwhelmed or too distracted and the recall can go out the window," Spivey says. 

Instead of this, use that long leash and take your dog to as many new places as you can to help improve their recall. And if you're looking for other ways to mix things up, here are 12 clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks.

3. Standing still when you call your dog: While standing on the spot and calling your dog may seem harmless (we certainly thought it was!), according to Spivey it's one of the worst things you can do when it comes to your dog's recall.

"If your dog sees something and looks back at you and you're standing still calling your dog, not only are you boring but the dog looks at you and anticipates you're going to remain where you are so it can run over to the other dog.

"What you actually want to do is walk away calling your dog. It encourages the dog to come toward you," he says.

Training a reliable recall takes time, patience, and consistency. If you feel you and your pup would benefit from some extra support, we highly recommend reaching out to a professional.

Before you do that, check out our guide to how to spot dog trainer red flags to ensure you're choosing a qualified trainer who uses positive training methods.

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Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices 
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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.