Building a Super Solid Recall! What If My Dog REFUSED Come When Called?

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48 Comments on “Building a Super Solid Recall! What If My Dog REFUSED Come When Called?”

    1. @Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution if you have a quick tip or an opinion or maybe a video about a dog with similar behavior i would very much appreciate the help
      Thank you!

    2. ​@kosta nikolic I’d say train recall while he’s on leash and after he comes and let’s you grab his collar, big treat! Do that for a while and try recalls when he’s off leash in the middle of your walks when there’s nothing interesting going on (stacking the cards in your favor!). If he does and let’s you grab the leash, big reward! Mine gets treats and I chase after him a little (he loves it when I chase him). I make it into as much of a fun game as possible. Though I still have sooooo much work to do. He’s good when there’s no real distractions but this video really made me realize I need to take a step back to a long leash to get the consistency when there’s something going on more interesting than me

    3. ​@matthijseri have the same issue, my dog is really good when there are no distractions around or mild, once there is a dog in sight is very hard to recall sometimes work other times don’t, i am tring as hard as i can but it’s hard. i am reading comments to get some tips.

    4. @Digby King-Adams Stop trying to catch him, he thinks you are playing and youre reinforcing it. Go back to the beginning as if you’ve just gotten him/her and use a clicker to reinforce. It’s amazing to watch the lightbulb go on when they realise what the clicker means. Gradually introduce new cues if your old ones are being ignored. Build your relationship with ‘look at me’ ‘Leave it’ and build up to combining the two, leave it look at me. (In Zaks books) And play, play some more and when you’re finished playing, play some more. Get down to their level. My dog loves me on the floor rolling round with her, or even just lying on the floor next to her as she chews on a chew.
      Keep him on a leash indoors, long leash out doors. Re-start your recall training indoors, with new cues if she/he ignores the old one. At first when your dog is 3 feet away or so, call her/him and when she responds, reward and go overboard with the praise and treats…Make your dog feel like she’s done something amazing….gradually build the distance up till she coming to you when ever you call her from any room. Then start the whole process outside in low distraction areas and gradually build up.

  1. I’m training a dog who is resistant to coming when called and is prone to bolting. I have been advising to keep that dog on a long line. I have been asked, will he ever be reliable and not run away? This dog is fearful. What are your thoughts

    1. ​@Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution What happens if the leash or collar comes off or gets cut accidentally? A fearful, panicking dog is likely to run away without thinking.

    2. @Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution so with this dog it IS recommended to continue on a long line. The fear factor in this dog has greatly increased time needed to learn.

  2. Great tips. My dog, cocker, is not so willing to give up meeting or playing with other dogs. If his is already “talking” with other dog, he tends to “grow deaf”. We do practise recall with treats or toys, but… He would rather ignore a rabbit and come back to me than leave his new dog-friend. I sometimes think its unfixable. Usually I try to pretend I am going away to make him a little afraid of being left alone – it helps, but I would rather have him come back without it. Guess we need some dog-actors😂

    1. I’m working on this with my dog.
      The things that have helped are asking her to sit before she give me eye contact, then giving the cue ‘go play’ I only letting her play for 30 40 seconds before calling her back with 3 bursts on the whistle. Then do it again. The reason for only letting her play for such a short time is I’ve noticed the recall has a higher chance of failing if I let her play longer.

    2. As the owner of a dog which is reactive I would recommend keeping your dog on a long line. Your dog means no harm by greeting the other dogs, but if he came up to mine for example (who is always on lead if there are other dogs), there would be teeth. And then my dogs reactivity is getting worse, your dog becomes nervous of other dogs which could in turn make him reactive. We’re working to reduce my dog’s reactivity but as of 6months training, I have to be honest, I’m seeing no improvement (and we’re working with a nationally certified +ve only trainer).

  3. You make it sound so easy. I, hand on my heart, can say that my dog is well trained. I can take her pretty much anywhere and she behaves. But recall is something I still do not trust her with. She’s broken that trust so many times. We practice our recall word every day even on a leash around distractions, but in our home forest I still have her on a long lead. She’s such a momma’s girl that she would eventually come back, but I’m afraid she’ll start driving game and run under a car or stumble upon one of the predators of which we have many and be left second in that battle. So whenever I’m alone with her in the forest, she’s on the long lead and I blast a video or something from my phone in my pocket to make constant sound, driving animals further and in a sense controlling our surroundings also in that way.

    1. It’s not always easy. It’s not only down to your training technique but it’s down to your dog too. My lady dog wasn’t good at recall but my current dog which is the same breed of dog is very good at recall.

    2. I have a question. Do you think more practice is what is needed? Do you think that your dog doesn’t understand what you want at this point or do you believe they want to ignore and chase prey?

  4. I always find your videos highly educational and I love the content but I’ll be honest I learn the most when you hit real-life experiences when your dog partner doesn’t auto-magically do the right thing. Watching the correction and evolution of trust is where I get the most hope for my own pup and training.

  5. My dog always comes when I call …but it might take 5 minutes until she gets to it 🙁 She’ll just mosey on over at her own pace sniffing around and enjoying the scenery and maybe to chase a squirrel or two up a tree

  6. What if you did not have time to tire Inertia out beforehand, you are with her on one side of a busy highway with cars speeding by and Inertia sees that Bree and Veronica were both on the other side. You have no treats and no Frisbee in sight. Would Inertia reliably come to you when you call her?

    1. My Westie is like that. Great dog, well trained but if he sees another animal, he takes off. I was told his breed can’t be trusted not to run towards other animals because the prey instinct in his breed is too strong. I wonder if that’s a fact.

    2. I’ve had that happen, use a higher reward treat. I use freeze dried chicken hearts. If they won’t come all the way I’ll throw one half way then hold a second one out so they have to come to me for the second treat.

  7. The word I use for my dog to stay is “Wait!” And she will stop and wait. Most of the time she will wait and whine because she wants to go but she won’t go unless I say “ok” or I take a step forward.

    She is like your dog inertia. She will come back to me 95% of the time.

    Just two weeks ago I had her off lead and we came across another person walking their dog. I didn’t know they were so close and that they were in the park.

    But I looked over to my left and my dog was walking their way. I told her wait and she stopped for a second then started heading their way. So I said no , wait. And she stopped. She was unsure what to do and she was about 6″ away from the other person and their dog. So I told her “come”. She then came to me and followed me.

    My dog is very friendly but if I knew that person was there I would have had her on a lead before they got that close because I know my dog would have tried to approach them and I didn’t know if that person would have been ok with her approaching them or if the other dog would have attacked her.

    I’m just lucky my dog will do what I ask her to do most of the time.

    Thanks to Zack and other training channels I watch I’ve used various positive reinforcement techniques to train my dog myself. When she does what I ask her to do she gets her favourite treat , lots of love and praise.

    For a two year old dog she’s a very well behaved dog.

  8. What kind of long line do you use Zak. Mine always gets so dirty and knotted. Yours also looks thinner. Is thin best. And what material would you recommend?

  9. Also I didn’t use a long lead when training my dog. I used an extendable lead. I know most trainers don’t like extendable leads but what I done on every walk is I set the lead to a certain length depending on where we were and locked it at that length. Like if I was on a footpath on a main road I would reel it out no further than the edge of the footpath then let it slack off when she wasn’t pulling. Or if I was in a park or grassed area she would get the full length of the 15′ lead.

  10. Thanks for the great reminders and tips! My dog and I have been working on his recall since I got him as a puppy two years ago. His recall still needs work as he still gets distracted by smells and some other things like pheseants or squirrels… for most instances, he does come but not right away.
    This is a good reminder of what to do when your dog listens “most of the time,” like my dog does 😁 keep up the great work !

  11. All my dogs had/have a great recall, even my Akita can walk off leash in the forest. I always use a super treat for recall. One they get only when being called so it’s special and highly rewarding. Also keep recall fun and diverse. Sometimes it’s just that treat, sometimes it’s a fun game, sometimes both and another time we do some tricks, play a search game or I call them when standing beside something interesting to show it to them afterwards.
    I agree with the long leash. I use them for a long time, many people take the leash off way too early and that ruins a lot of training and makes it harder and longer.

  12. My dog has a very weak recall she has slipped out of her harness and gone afterafter chickens and kangaroos multiple times!😅
    She needs strong and consistent training for at least a year to be trusted off lead

  13. Amazing video as always! Zak do you have any videos on essentials for puppy’s? I’m getting my border collie puppy mid April and have a bunch of stuff including things you’ve recommended but I can’t help but feel I’m missing something. I’m also worried of getting something of poor quality.

    1. The wonderful thing about collies is that they get addicted to things and as long as it’s something that you have control of you are in a very powerful position. Marzieh is addicted to jumping for bubbles so as long as I have a tub of bubble stuff in my pocket I have complete control. Jasper was addicted to catching balls rather than chasing them before he got cataracts. Another collie would “find” me. I would hide behind a tree and keep very quiet. He would run past and catch my scent and turn straight to me. Air sniffing!

  14. This is my biggest problem. My dog is a runner. She’ll run in the street in traffic. I just adopted her last year at eight years old. Not sure why she thinks it’s a game when I’m having a heart attack from fear of her getting killed.

  15. A neighbour had a dog that tended to attack other dogs (especially mine) and it wore a shock collar. Then one day the dog attacked my Jasper and she’d forgotten to turn the collar on! It wasn’t a bad attack.
    15yr old Jasper is now deaf and I don’t want to have to chase him round the house so I have convenient little tubs of cat kibble scattered about and I just have to hold out a few kibble and he comes fast 😂

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