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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Recall Training Gone Wrong: 5 Things to Avoid

Teaching your dog to come when called is an essential behavior that ensures their safety and strengthens your bond. While there are effective strategies to follow, it's equally important to know what to avoid during recall training.


In this blog, we will highlight five common mistakes to steer clear of when teaching your dog to come when called, ensuring a successful and reliable recall.

Recall Training

5 Tings To Avoid When Recall Training Your Dog:

  1. Avoid Inconsistent Reinforcement: One of the biggest mistakes in recall training is inconsistent reinforcement. Ensure that every time you call your dog, you provide a positive reward, which should be a high value treat such as boiled chicken, turkey bacon, cheese etc. Inconsistent rewards can confuse your dog and diminish the motivation to come when called. Consistency is key to reinforce the behavior you desire.

  2. Avoid Using the Recall Cue for Negative Situations: Refrain from using your recall command in negative or punishing situations. If you only call your dog when it's time to leave the park, go to the vet, get a bath or end a fun activity, they will associate the recall command with negative outcomes. This can make them hesitant or reluctant to come when called. Instead, make the recall cue associated with positive experiences and rewards only!

  3. Avoid Overusing the Recall Cue: Using the recall cue excessively can dilute its effectiveness. Constantly calling your dog's recall cue without any purpose can desensitize them to the cue. Reserve the recall cue for important situations or when you are confident that your dog will respond. Overusing it will lead to your dog ignoring the cue when it's most needed.

  4. Avoid Punishment or Negative Reinforcement: Using punishment or negative reinforcement when your dog doesn't come when called is counterproductive. Yelling, scolding, or physically reprimanding your dog can create fear or anxiety, making them less likely to respond in the future. Recall training should always be positive and reward-based. Focus on reinforcing the desired behavior and avoid any form of punishment.

  5. Avoid Training in High-Distraction Environments Too Soon: Training in highly distracting environments before your dog has mastered recall in controlled settings is setting them up to fail. Starting in quiet, low-distraction areas and gradually increasing the difficulty level is essential for success. Introduce distractions gradually, allowing your dog to build their focus and response before tackling challenging environments. Rushing into high-distraction areas too soon can lead to frustration and setbacks in the training process.

Teaching your dog to come when called requires patience, consistency, and avoiding common pitfalls. By steering clear of inconsistent reinforcement, negative associations, overuse of the recall command, punishment, and premature high-distraction training, you can set your dog up for success. Remember to focus on positive reinforcement, maintain consistency, and gradually progress in training. With dedication and the right approach, you can have a dog who responds reliably to the recall command, ensuring their safety and strengthening your bond.


If you need further guidance or have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Best Buddy Dog Trainer. Call us at 301-231-1907 or email us at jeff@bestbuddydogtrainer.com or april@bestbuddydogtrainer.com We are here to support you in your dog's training journey.

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