FitDog Friday #34 – Recall


I took Mr. N out to a nearby school yard after hours so he could run around for a bit. When he’s off-leash, we usually practice recall at least once or twice. I decided to try this method of sharpening recall that I had read about. You hide from your dog and it supposedly encourages them to keep an eye on you and not wander too far. Well Mr. N usually keeps an eye on me so I haven’t had a chance to try it before.

He was off in a corner so I took the opportunity to hide behind some bushes. He finishes marking some grass, and looks up to find me. And he didn’t see me. If a dog’s face could express four letter words, his did at that moment.
He sprints across the yard and playground in seconds, headed in the direction of home before I got a chance to call his name. Mr. N comes running back and I rewarded him with treats.

How do you work on recall with your dog(s)? Are they velcro dogs like Mr. N or do they want to go follow their nose? 

We went for a short hike last weekend. No recall photos. He moves too fast!




16 Responses

  1. SlimDoggy

    June 13, 2014 12:46 pm

    Jack is pretty velcro most of the time, I've tried this hiding with Maggie and she could care less. Our dog Sally was like Mr. N. though – she would freak. Good tip to try out though. Thanks for joining the Hop.

  2. Susan Willett

    June 13, 2014 1:30 pm

    I like to practice both when it's easy (in my yard) and when the dogs are distracted (there's a squirrel). When I know it's hard for them (squirrel), I tend to reward with what my trainer calls high-value treats: roast beef, cheese, something really tasty. So that they learn that the reward can be more exciting than the distracting thing.

    –Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

  3. To Dog With Love

    June 13, 2014 1:47 pm

    Rocco is not as velco as you might expect from a Havanese. However, if he thinks we're about to play a fun game, he'll come running in a second. Rocco LOVES this recall game of hide and seek. Thanks for sharing… we'll add this to our repertoire of fun games!

  4. jen

    June 13, 2014 2:00 pm

    I took Leroy into a store in the mall with me yesterday and we worked on his recall. Leroy is not a velcro dog and has a mind of his own but he was pretty good until he smelled the pretzels baking a few stores down, then he left store and followed his nose!

  5. Beth

    June 13, 2014 5:45 pm

    Barley is usually very much a velcro dog–if our agility trainer takes her leash for a second, she panics (although she's gotten significantly better over the last few months), so I can just imagine poor Mr. N's face when he realized you were gone! Recall is hardest for Barley when there are other dogs around (and with her reactivity, we can really only practice dealing with that in controlled environments like agility class) or when there's food around. We've been practicing at meal time lately. I put the food in her dish. I back away and then call her front so she has to go past her food. You can tell having to take her eyes of the food to come to me makes her brain about explode, so I never make her stay with me long before releasing her!

  6. Mark at DBDT

    June 13, 2014 8:42 pm

    Veruca is definitely not a velcro dog. She is on leash most of the time we are outside, especially if we are away from home. Her nose is great and her desire to chase things is greater. We do work on her recall with a long line, although our training has diminished quite a bit. Good reminder to get back out there.

  7. Cascadian Nomads Bethany

    June 14, 2014 2:23 am

    Wilhelm used to follow his nose and had a terrible recall (that was before I decided that although he is Jason's dog, someone needed to train him and the only other someone was me.) Now he is mostly velcro but I do take opportunities like you did to practice.

  8. 2browndawgs

    June 15, 2014 11:56 am

    Our dogs like to sniff around and follow their noses and sometimes forget we are there. That sounds like a good way to work on recall. I bet Mr. N stayed closer after that. 🙂

  9. Donna weliveinaflat

    June 16, 2014 5:53 am

    Hmm.. when I hide, Donna takes her own sweet time to sniff around before she starts to look for me when she gets bored…she usually looks puzzled more than horrified, but she does keep an eye on me and comes after me if I go beyond the distance from her that she is comfortable with. I rather not hide because I fear she would mark where she shouldn't or some freak accident happens that makes her run away home or someplace else as you describe 😉


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