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Using the Recall Game to Get Your Dog to Come When Called

Part of the Dog Training For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you’re interested in training your dog to come to you when he’s called, one way to teach him is to play the Recall Game. This training game is played with two people, one hungry dog, one 6-foot leash, and plenty of small treats. Practice the Recall Game on and off leash inside, on leash outside, off leash outside in a confined area, and then ultimately on and off leash with distractions when your dog is ready. Be sure you can touch your dog’s collar every time he comes to you, and before you give him a treat.

Here are the steps to follow when playing the Recall Game:

  1. Find a partner and sit on the floor 6 feet apart, facing each other. Have your partner gently restrain the dog while you hold the end of the leash.

  2. Call your dog by saying “Buddy, Come,” and use the leash to guide him to you.

  3. When Buddy comes to you, put your hand through his collar, give him a treat, and praise him enthusiastically.

  4. Hold onto Buddy’s collar and pass the leash to your partner, who says, “Buddy, Come,” guides the dog in, puts his hand through the collar, gives him a treat, and praises the dog.

Work through these steps until your dog responds on his own to being called and no longer needs to be guided to you with the leash. At that point, you can start increasing the distance between you and your partner (up to 12 feet). You also can begin playing the game from room to room in your house.

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