20 games of Recall. 11-20

Game 11! New dog new day.
Luna is visiting but she is very shy of people.
Using a recall word before introducing the sight and sounds of the treat bag help your dog to come back before you have to run and get the cookies.
1. Say “Come”
2. Pause 1 or 2 seconds.
3. Reach to your pocket or to the shelf to grab the treat bag.
Luna is quite shy and many people are coming in and out of the house. She got out this morning but because we played this game we were able to interrupt the “doodle zoomies” say “come” then run to the treat bag. When you’re teaching make sure you don’t produce the food before the recall, otherwise you will teach your dog only to come only when the treats are there. Oh and No tricks, if you say come and they come back in the house make sure to reward them. You could use treats or a special toy they don’t get often or you can grab a leash or longline and give them what they really want, some exercise outside!

Recall game 12! Sneaky Recall.

Game 12
The sneaky recall. No need to use a recall word for this one! Just use a marker.

1. Sneak away, you can hide or simply take a trail your dog isn’t expecting
2. Use your marker when your dog finds you and reward them with a wonderful toy or multiple treats. A marker doesn’t have to be a clicker but just a special word or noise that means a treat is on it’s way. This way you don’t have to have your hand in your pocket when they find you. Mark “yes” when they find you, pause, then reach into your pocket to give them their rewards.
3. Go free! Remember that getting to go free or play again is often times more rewarding than a treat and definitely better than having to go on a leash.
You don’t always have to give your dog a high value reward for this game, most are just happy to find you and get some love, then go free to play again. In this case the girls are having so much fun playing with each other that it is important we make finding us fun and exciting too! Thank-You to my beautiful friend and her dog Peaches for taking me on a fabulous network of trails this morning.

Recall Game 13
This concept I picked up from @pam.dennison.positive.dogs, jeeze I don’t know how long ago 8-10 years maybe!? Anyway. Best name ever: “Throw the cookie and run like heck!” BTW Pam has a whistle recall training DVD. Knowing her it’s gotta be great so check it out! https://www.pamdennison.com/product/training-the-whistle-recall-dvd

Here are two versions I play. The first one is called “dang I hurt my back”, this one is great because you don’t have to run like heck.
1. Toss 1… I said ONE!!! Treat. Let your dog eat it. When they turn to orient to you and start coming your way THEN say your recall word then reward. In the video I only turned so you could see the reward placement. Just keep your body straight. You can also deliver the reward to the side, through your legs or just bend down and pay

Run like heck!
2. Toss 1 treat and run like heck. When your dog turns to chase you, call them as they are running to you. Let them eat the treat when they are first learning! In this case I tossed a ball for Beretta, then realized I could play the “run like heck part” because I left a ball on the hood of the truck. I booked it around the truck, grabbed the ball and called her.
I love this game because it builds speed when your dog hears the recall word! Because your dog already enjoys the recall word when they turn back to trot to you thinking “boy that was fun, let’s play again” your recall word confirms coming to you is the right thing, they anticipate the reward then speed up (dopamine!) You can mark that speed change to reinforce FAST and then reward. Your reward placement can also encourage speed like you see in this video.

Recall game 14!
Lose a little inhibition!

Thanks to @michael_ellis_school for this reward style. Make sure you check out Michael’s DVD The power of training dogs with food. and his programs for more detailed games to motivate your dog. A huge motivation killer is the way we deliver the reward.
So many recalls I see get the dog all pumped up to receive a reward, then when the dog thinks “goodie I am so excited to eat this snack!” I see people lean over the dog, point their finger and say “sit, sit” “nice, hey I said be nice!” If you do this 20 or 30 times the dog thinks, ugh that is a lot of work for that one cookie 🍪 and many would choose to take their time to come back or continue exploring.
By using my marker *click* and clear presentation of a flat hand with my fingers pointed towards the ground my dog can take the treat with some passion! They don’t have to worry about my fingers and neither do I.

A. Make sure you practice the reward delivery a lot before you add speed like in this video.
B. Use your marker! Just because your hand is out doesn’t mean they can come sharking in. Make it clear that they can take the food when and only when you mark. Also careful training with multiple dogs if they have the same marker.


1. Hold your hand flat and place your treat in it.
2. Bring your thumb to slightly cover the food. You notice I use larger meatball peices so I am not covering the entire treat. Just cover the bare minimum so it doesn’t fall out of your hand.3. Try not to cup your hand too much.
4. Loosen up. Make sure your hand is in good position but don’t make it stiff like a board. You want to move with any momentum your dog has and if your hand is too tight on the treat your dog can nip your hand meat 😆.

Have fun and tag us in some stories. @pest2pet #pest2pet

Recall Game #15!
Never waste a recall (opportunity)

Once your dog learns it’s recall, it is used throughout its life and your dog is accidentally punished. They get out of the yard, are having the time of their life then when we run out in a panic call them. When they get to us we snatch up their collar and usher them back into the house.
We call them from barking at the window only to sternly tell them to knock it off.
You are going to spoil your dogs, maybe give them healthy table scraps, delicious bones, bully sticks or stinky chews.

We get into the useless routine of delivering these valuable items to the dog for no reason, when your dog is bored or begging then claim we have no time to train. Instead, reward them with that cherished chew after you use your recall word.

1. Beretta “escapes” the yard, I call her back and she earns a Turkey neck! Remember to call first then mark and reward. Make sure you don’t bribe them back by showing them the item. If they know the recall word, have them come, then mark and then reach for the reward.
2. The dogs bark at the window or door. This is a very common scenario when they can easily run out of the house. If you call them from the window or door with your recall word pay them for it! Here I call them and they are quiet mark then reach for the treats then deliver the reward (just don’t practice this scenario too much or they will start barking at the window just to get their snack) Mmm turkey necks! Luckily this was done on house cleaning day!
So next time you want to give your dog something they adore, use their recall word then mark and run to the reward or bring it from a secret hiding place. This teaches them to come to you to earn a prize rather than just building value for your pantry.

Recall Games Day 16 of 20. Persistence to Recall.

Once your dog realize that coming to you pays off big time we make it a little more difficult. Some people may start by adding distractions in but my favourite is to increase persistence to recall. Depending on your dog’s personality you can do the following to get your dog to be a bit more persistent in pursuing you. Remember, it’s okay to encourage them as they persist, pay when they put in effort, not when they slow down or look “distracted”
1. Have them drag a leash or a long line. Ignoring something “chasing” them can be surprisingly difficult for some dogs.

2. Use our 2 feet advantage! Being on 2 legs means we can weave, pivot or turn quickly. We can also use our arms to slingshot between posts or trees making it tough for dogs to catch us. They have to switch leads to stay balanced.

3. Soft Combat! For dogs that don’t tend to be wavered by environmental stressors you can use pillows, couch cushions, tarps, can curtains to attempt to slow your dog down in their pursuit of you.
Remember they should get stronger each recall so if they are struggling, make it easier by moving your feet quickly but not actually going very far.

Recall Day 17! To Signal or not to signal.

Which one do you prefer?

My oldest dog is starting to go deaf, and on the most recent visit to my parent’s house I was informed their dog is going deaf too. When we first teach recall we use a word first, followed by some body language that encourages sociability and elicits excitement from our canine partner. The goal in the auditory recall is to fade the extra body help, or in the case of competition obedience, present a competitive neutral posture (standing straight up to side) but have the dog respond to the auditory signal.
So upon seeing and testing that my parent’s dog is really getting quite deaf my mom suggested she start bringing the whistle. It’s difficult to read the signals of deafness in this dog because she reads contexts well, has a predictable routine and has stunning auto check ins. I concurred that a whistle would be a good idea at this stage but a clear visual signal would be our best choice. So, our fastest way to get the new signal? We layer an unknown cue before a known cue. So in this case Ebony has a fantastic recall (seriously I’ve called the dog off a bear mid chase, the recall is dang beautiful!)
We simply put our physical gesture in before the whistle (which she can still hear at this stage) then increase our reward schedule.
Hand Signal




Game 19
You love me and leave me.

We call the dog, give it a pat, then the cessation of our affection tells the dog it can go back to interacting with the environment. Ensure you use a “release” word that ends the interaction and sends the dog back to explore (or to go back to independent work). Do this by delivering affection randomly with breaks in between pets. Release the dog with a ” go play” or “free” marker that gives the dog the opportunity to return to explore the environment. You can build value for you by releasing them from the affection session before they lose interest in you. If your dog doesn’t seem to appreciate affection in environmentally interesting places mark and reward while touching them (holding collar, petting or grabbing them)

In the first video you can see Beretta earn her frisbee in exchange for a good scratch.
Ebony the senior labx doesn’t even want the frisbee, just a thorough massage. I check here and there to make sure she is enjoying the interaction and that my body language isn’t intimidating or overwhelming to her.
Swipe left to see the other ways you can make physical affection rewarding to your dog in recall situations.
(In the 3 video I did give Simon the “free” cue after reinforcing staying with and checking with me multiple times, I think the video cut off though)

Recall Game 20

Recall game 20
It’s not a verbal it’s not a signal it’s ….
Automatic check in. Do it all the time. Do it when a strange figure shows up, when they smell a rabbit, when an ambulance goes by, when someone else calls their dog, when there is nothing around.
If you always acknowledge, call, or become active when your dog goes away from you it can teach them to check out more. Always being the entertainer will let your dog “slack off” so to speak.
1. Go for a walk in a safe area or on a longline, do not say or do anything, no slowing, no direction changes, no fiddling in pockets, just walk.
2. When your dog looks at you (for the particularly independent dog it may be an ear flick in your direction) capture it with your marker or by calling their name or using their recall word, then reach in your pocket to get the bounty of rewards.
3. Release your dog to go back to exploring the environment.
For the really independent dogs, older dogs in need of a refresher or if working with serious distractions start with very small criteria. The first check in might be an ear flick in your direction, a side glance, checking on you when they scent mark, even slowing down. Reward the slightest check in, each walk they will offer more and more so increase your criteria to a head swivel, then a stop and look. Remember, big distractions like wildlife, go back to the tiniest interest in you and reward the slightest body movement that isn’t the direction of the distraction. (Elsa reminded me of this while she partied with deer tracks, you can see I have been slacking on her auto check in training in the video.

Thank-You to Jethro that taught me every aspect of recall I could imagine. The difference between Drive and energy, aggression and arousal, reward and reward event, and more than any program or person or 20 games of recall could ever teach.

Remember that these are fun games, tips, tricks. Please hire a certified professional dog trainer to assist you with any animal behaviour requirements. Pest 2 Pet Inc. Is not responsible for any negative outcomes achieved from exercises attempted through our media.


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