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.


20 Days of Recall Games Days 6-10

Game 6!

This is an oldie but a bestie.
Frustration Recall. Have someone hold your dog 🐕. Get really excited and run away. When they are excited go ahead and use their Recall word.
I love this game and will continue to use it because it has at least 3 wonderful reinforcers.
1. When the helper releases your dog they get freedom.
2. Running! They get to run but instead of away from you like if you threw a ball, now you are the ball running from them.
3. Party and rewards when they arrive!
Like always try not to lunge for their collar or leash. You can even have that person run in and steal them again!
Keep this game short and rare. 2-3 times maximum.
I left the bad videoing in because my client had some great questions.

Game 7.

Our dogs have to ignore language all of the time. They learn that the sounds from radio, TV, and our conversations don’t pack a whole lot of importance.

Make sure your recall has some sharpness and is a noticeable sound.
Wind and distractions can really mess with their recall. So instead of using a sentence to call your dog from a distance 🧾 “Fluffy, please come over here, thank you buddy” 🔊 Use a sharp whistle or make your voice sharp (deep or high is fine depending on your natural range) just make sure it doesn’t sound like your normal conversation.
When you first start training, use the new sound when your dog is already running to you. After you make the sound you can use other words or movements like running away to attract your dog and keep them from checking out. If introducing the new word, check out our day 6 video for the perfect game to add when teaching the new recall sound.

Game 8!

On day 5 we added speed. What to do if your dog has a fast recall but it takes forever to pick up their nose from the ground or turn quickly to return?
Check out the videos on how we progressed Beretta’s response to her name in just one session.

1st time playing the game on the walk, ugh! It’s like she has no idea I even exist. I have to make a bunch of noises and stuff!

A. Make sure you have big soft treats you can lob at them or close to them.
B. Call their name or use their recall word and just toss the food in their direction. Be ready to toss a few pieces like you see in the videos so that the dog doesn’t think it is magically raining treats.

C. When their response from distraction gets faster add your marker sound or excited body language back in when they turn to come to you.
D. Practice throughout your dog’s life by calling them and instead of expecting them to run all the way to you, just release them (say “free” or “okay”) to go play again or toss a big treat or toy for them.
Back to Beretta, her recall is fast but you can see in the first video her swivel speed (initial response time or for the behaviour people “low latency”) is terrible.
Today I broke the chain of the recall down and fed for
1. Initially just hearing her name 2. For the turn of the head

3. In the last video I clicked (which means come and get a treat from me) after the initial head turn.

Game 9.

Permission to access things your dog wants. Ugh, doesn’t that sound damn controlling!? I don’t care what term you want to use “indirect reward”, “Premack Principle”, “auto check in”, “wait until released”, “earn environment through you”. The point is that our dogs do not always recognize dangerous situations. For my dog to go to the river they must wait for permission from me before plunging in, other wise the water may be rushing too fast or have a thin layer of ice.
You can teach your dog to stay with you, to earn a resource at a distance by practicing waiting or walking with you to their food bowl, going out the door, saying hello, chasing a ball, going off leash or even just climbing up on a log.

In this YouTube video Elsa learns that staying with me earns a hello to our good friend. I guess she was having fun with that food chase game because the hello didn’t last long. https://youtu.be/RsJPC-23tKk

1. Have yummy rewards on you, when your dog sees the thing they want, give them your active marker (click,yes yip), start paying rewards from alternative hands, pockets, hoods etc (pause, treat, pause, treat)
2. Make sure you have some form of management that will stop them from ignoring you and getting what they want. A long line, x pen, a person to block the food bowl, a line on the door to close it.
3. When your dog is staying with you, in the paused moments between feeding treats, use a release marker to allow access (“go”,”free”, “all done”, “say hello”, “playtime”). When you say that release word let them go enjoy their freedom or playtime with the friend! Make sure to join in with the fun with them so we aren’t that grumpy controlling person saying “lets leave the beach, it’s too wet!” I run with my dogs to visit friends, or add yummy snacks to their dish when I release them to it.
Tag us in a pic or video @pest2pet #pest2pet

Game 10!

Always reward!
Clients always ask “do I always reward recall?” I say YES! Sometimes it is a tangible reward and sometimes a reward event (term I learned from Michael Ellis)
Though dogs can have a variety of rewards. I don’t always reward recall with the same thing. You can see the aftermath of the recall in this pic. The girls got treats and Chip got a stick!

Not all rewards are equal and depending on your dog or their mood you may have to vary the type of reward they earn when they come to you.
Here is a list of rewards my pets receive after a recall, (depending on their stage of training). I love to start varying low value and high value rewards once the recall is reliable but the majority of recalls are high value.
High Value –
Canned Food.
Real Meat.
Food Chase for Elsa and Chip.
Tug for Beretta
Surprising Elsa with Dad or a good friend.
Ball thrown through my legs for Beretta.
Swimming for Chip.
Jumping up and cuddling for Rio.
Scavenging dropped treats from the ground when I’m feeding the other dogs (Rio)
Clicker training for Willy (horse) and Alani (Cat)
Entire meals.
Off Leash freedom.
Lower value –
A quick pet or scratch.
Chasing me.
Tossing and unexpected item.
Chasing each other.
Car ride.

Remember that the value or your reward may depend on the environment or context.

If you call your dog from chasing a bunny, they may act like the food you try and give them is poison! I reward from potential prey with a chasing reward and for some dogs let them sink their teeth into a sturdy tug (something that you may have to teach your dog to love).

Have a wonderful time with these. The most important thing about these games is spending quality time with your dog. See you in the next 5! Remember to share and tag @pest2pet in your Facebook and Instagram stories.

12 Days of Recall games. First 5 Games.

This post is taken from our Instagram 12 days of recall! I asked and the majority voted that 20 days of recall could be cool too! So, I will add these to the blog 5 games per blog. These are just games and by attempting these you assume that working with animals is a risk and no fault can be placed on Pest2Pet inc for any accidents that may ensue.

Game #1.

When your dog is not watching, lay flat and call them! Let them try and find you and nudge you to get to your face before celebrating with excitement and affection. Be careful and cover the back of your head if you have a large dog! #pest2pet in your videos!

Game #2

Coming in close!

As your dog comes in towards you be ready with treats or a toy closed in your hands. Be careful not to bend or reach towards them (the I’m gunna get you look) but instead move backwards a few steps with your body straight and hands outstretched. As they get to your hands for the reward step back at the same time as you pull your hands in as close to your body as you can. When your dog is in close, open your hands and let them take the treats or ball. Give multiple treats or play tug with the ball a bit before releasing them to play. Make sure they have fun when in your space rather than just catching up their leash or collar right away. Enjoy and tag @pest2pet in your videos and stories!

Game #3!

You and me learn recall in the dark! If you have a light, wave it first then use your dog’s recall word after. This can help them to realize that strange lights can be lots of fun. Also practice calling them when you see headlights, flashlights or the bobble lights on other dogs. Calling them when their head perks up and their body stiffens can keep them from barking at approaching people! Make sure to pay generously. Check out Instagram where in the video when you swipe left Chip earned a small packet of canned food! He was over the moon 🌒 lol get it cuz recalls in the dark hehehe.

Game #4

The best feeling is that distance stay and recall! We leave our dog in a sit, walk far away, then say “come!” Little do we realize that when our dog anticipates the recall by leaving the stay a moment early, we are chipping away at the foundation stay. Another thing that happens is leaving the stay early can damage or slow the recall. When our dog breaks out of the stay to have a party we say, “no, no fluffy, stay” it makes them hesitate on the next recall. So.. for every 99 stays from a distance, I return to my dog before I release them. Around every 100 stays I will call them to come from a distance. It seems like a lot of stays, I know, but with 10 stays per day (waiting before going out doorways or kennels, staying in the yard, waiting for a toy or supper) you can do a recall from a stay every 10 days or so! Returning to their side before releasing them doesn’t take much extra time and their stays and recalls will improve drastically because of it! Tag @pest2pet in your recall videos but for day 4 let’s see you also return to their side while they remain in a stay.

Game #5
A need for speed!
When you call your dog and they are headed in your direction

1. Mark (click, say “yes”, or tell them to get their toy)

2. Give the toy in a way they can move directly past you or through you without knocking you over.
Always asking your dog to sit or trying to reach out and grab them when they come can slow them down when they come to you. They think “oh man, here we go, when I get to my owner they are just going to make me sit or grab me”. Practicing a need for speed can get them galloping, once their speed is up you can add back in game #2.

Stay tuned for the other 15 games!

Remember this is not a replacement for a professional seeing you and your dog and creating a plan specifically for your dog. See you on the next 5 and remember to tag #pest2pet in your posts and stories!

Recall in a rush!

Not many of us have open fields and endless training time.

I know! You don’t have time to train your dog.  Their food bowl hits the floor and you’re out the door!  

Use this really fun and slightly lazy training game and it could save your dog’s life the next time it bolts outside to play neighbourhood “Zoomies”.   Here is how I occasionally train and feed my dogs when I’m in a rush.


You will need:

    1. Dog Dish or big pockets containing a meal your dog loves.
    2. A Marker word or sound.  A Marker is like putting a checkmark on the right behaviour.  It communicates to your dog that a reward is coming and is the perfect way to tell your dog that it has performed the correct cue (in this case “come”).  It can also capture behaviour you like (watch Rio’s video at the end of the blog). Look at this PDF Markers Pest2Pet
    3. A longline for safety if you think your dog may bolt.  You can also use it to prevent access to something distracting in the environment.  You don’t want your dog to hear the word “come”, then choose something else, then finally wander back to you. I love these comfortable to hold, easy to clean Biothane 25 foot lines : Pest 2 Pet Shopping

Go outside and hide the food!  A recall in your house isn’t really that useful.  Get your dog excited about earning reinforcement when they are in the front yard or back lane! If your dog has a really good nose for seeking out snacks when they are outside, hide the food somewhere that only you can access.  See where I hid my dogs’ “rush meal”!

  1. Release the hound! (clip on the longline on for less reliable pups)
  2. “Come!” Call your dog with whatever recall word you have decided on.
  3. DCIM100GOPROG0010487.JPG Be consistent! “Come” is not the same as “Come Here” “Fluffy Come” or “Come on”.  Do your best to make the recall sound the same each time.
  4. Click! Mark the behaviour you want and deliver the reward or run to the hidden reward! In this video I marked for a collar grab or clipping a leash on. If your dog is new to marker training make sure to have some food to hand to them right after you mark, you can then run to the food bowl as you feed them from your hand.

Watch us Discover the hiding places together:

  • Chip  gets marked and rewarded for me grabbing his collar, I ran first to increase urgency and excitement to keep him from peeing on the neighbour’s rock!  If your dog ducks away when you try to grab their collar, you may have to do some pre homework to do. You can also attend my Relationship Building and Smart Handling Class to learn some slick skills. Dog Skills Classes in YYC
  • Elsa is called to come followed by me grabbing her collar. I then mark when my hand is on the collar and we run to find the reward together.  If your dog needs speed you can move away and mark when they speed up to catch you. Since we are practicing front yard I thought the collar grab was the best demo for this situation.
  • Beretta earns her marker for getting the leash clicked on!  I guess the Fire hydrant was a pretty distracting place to put the food.  I feed her from my hand because she seems to enjoy it a bit more since my young dogs don’t generally eat out of bowls.

When your recall is looking good try these two:

Rio, well… She just get paid for following me around.  I cue a hand touch, notice how it looks like her nose touching the hand made the clicker noise? Try and time your marker so that it happens right at the moment the dog touches their nose to your hand, not before or after.

By adding training games and rewards into my regular routine, I make sure my dogs get some training.  And when my mind just wants to wander as my dogs bound happily through a field, I know they’ve got the skills to come back! Do you want to learn the “hand touch” or see a blog about another topic? Email me at info@pest2pet.com.




Blogging is an adventure too.. Right?

Well, I guess I don’t get as much exercise on a blogging excursion, but… I truly hope that the information and lessons from my journey can help you and your pet discover new adventures together.

-Reanne Heuston

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.

Our pets add to life’s adventure.