Transform your dog’s recall by focusing on this trainer's one surprising concept (trust us, it's a game-changer!)

Dog running in field
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite our best efforts, not all dogs have a perfect recall. If your dog’s recall isn’t right there yet, there could be a few different reasons for this. However, it might simply be that there’s a small thing you’re not doing, or a concept you haven’t been focusing on.

If this is the case, you’re not alone! No dog parent is perfect, and making small mistakes is all part of the journey – even for experienced dog parents, getting a new pup can still be a learning curve. And fortunately, it’s easy to improve your dog’s recall, as this award-winning trainer explains. You might need some of the best dog treats, however! 

In a recent Instagram post, Lisa Burton of Listen Dog Training outlines what you need to know.

Burton urges us to add value to close proximity. But what does this mean, exactly? In her words, “When it comes to recall training, so many people focus on the journey of the dog back from wherever they are, towards their owner.

“Obviously this is important, but how many people do you see who can only recall their dog back slightly? Back from afar, but only to within a 5-10 meter radius for a moment, before the dog is trotting away again?”

To improve recall, Burton recommends adding value to close proximity, and you can put the groundwork in at home. She suggests some games that you can play while going about your daily life, gradually drip-feeding that value of being near you and responding to you into your pup. Here are three reasons why your dog’s recall isn’t reliable (and what you can do about it), for more tips. 

The three games Burton suggests are all quick and easy:

Middle: Getting your dog to go directly beneath you, between your legs.

Catch: Teaching them to catch kibble you drop from your palm.

Nose touch: Getting your dog to place their nose into your palm on cue. 

They all show your dog that there’s value in being close to you – and incredibly close, rather than just in your general area. The more value you add, the more readily your dog will offer desirable recall behaviors!

Improving your dog’s recall may not happen overnight, and it’s important to remain patient and think of the benefits over the longer term. In the meantime, if you’re struggling with your pup coming back to you on walks, you might find the following article useful: 15 helpful ways to get your dog to come back to you on off-leash walks.

American Journey Peanut Butter Recipe Grain-Free Oven Baked Crunchy Biscuit Dog Treats 
$4.19 at Chewy

American Journey Peanut Butter Recipe Grain-Free Oven Baked Crunchy Biscuit Dog Treats
$4.19 at Chewy
These grain-free, crunchy snacks are sure to please your pup. Small in size and packed full of flavour, they're made with wholesome ingredients that will keep your dog motivated and energized. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. 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.