Puppy Training Recall: From Zero to Hero

We recently asked our users about the one skill they wanted their dog to master and the puppy training recall came first.


We all know that puppy training recall can be frustrating and takes a lot of time.


That's why we partnered with top behavioural experts and trainers to create the most detailed puppy recall course.


The course is personalised to every breed and age group and can be mastered in one week by practising it for only ten minutes a day.

What is reliable puppy recall?

Reliable recall is a recall that works in 99% of times

A reliable recall is what every dog's parents want. In other words, you want your dog to come to you in 99% of cases. There is never a 100% guarantee that your dog will come back, but you need to train them to be comfortable coming back to you even if they are busy playing with another dog or chasing a squirrel


How do I teach my puppy to recall?


Day 1


The secret to dog training isn't what cue you say to your dog, but what the cue means to your dog. In other words, your verbal cue (command) "COME" has no power if your dog is not excited about it. Let’s ‘charge-up’ the value of your recall cue. Use your recall cue sparingly, giving your dog at least five seconds to respond before calling again. Don't call again if you think they're unlikely to return, as this could teach them that it’s okay to not come back.


Stand in a quiet area with your dog next to you, say nothing. After a few seconds, out of the blue shout "COME" and immediately give your dog 3-5 of their favourite treat.


After feeding 3-5 treats stop, stand quietly and ignore your dog,Count 30 seconds, then say ”COME” and again start the treat party with your dogRepeat three times a day and soon your dog will be giving you 100% attention as soon as they hear “COME”


Day 2


Today we're going to take the recall exercise to the next level. Stand in a quiet area with your dog next to you, say nothing. After a few seconds, out of the blue shout "COME" and immediately start feeding your dog their favourite treat, one at a time. After feeding a couple of treats stop, stand quietly and ignore your dog


Count 30 seconds and then say "COME”, but this time, as soon as you say the cue, jog back a few steps to entice your dog to chase you before you begin to deliver the food. By jogging back you'll be creating more urgency and speed into your dog’s recall response



Make sure you say "COME", before you show the treats. We want your dog to run to you in response to hearing "COME”, not in response to seeing food!


Day 3


Hope you had a great training yesterday and your pup has started to react to the "COME" cue. If your dog is still learning the last step, give them some time before moving to the next one.


Today will be a fun exercise for both you and your dog. Find a wide quite space outside and and try to imagine a triangle laid out on the ground, 5 metres between each of the 3 points.


Stand next to your dog at point one, say "COME", place two or three treats by your feet and, as your dog comes to you and eats the treats, run to the next point of the triangle and face your dog.


As soon as they finish their treats and lift their head, say "COME", and place a further two to three treats by your feet. Again, when your dog comes to you to eat the treats, you need to run to the third point of the triangle.


Continue to repeat 3 times around the triangl, but remember, only call your dog once they've lifted their head up from the floor after eating the treat.


Day 4


If training your dog for recall using an imaginary triangle worked for you, it's time to increase difficulty. However, if you're still struggling, we recommend that you go back to basics and spend more time on recall at home without any distractions.


Find a wide quite space outside and imagine a triangle laid out on the ground, but this time increase the distance between the 3 points to 10 meters.


Stand next to your dog at point one, say "COME", place two or three treats by your feet and, as your dog comes to you and eats the treats, run to the next point of the triangle and face your dog. But this time you'll have to run faster to get to the next point in time for when your dog raises their head, so you're ready to shout "COME". Yep, it's a good workout for you too!


If your dog is running to you before you say "COME", good! However, to give you a better chance to get away from them, drop more treats so it takes them longer to eat.


If your dog begins to lose interest, increase the value of your treats, make the triangle smaller and stop each session after 2 laps to increase motivation for the next time


Day 4


Let's stop running in circles... ops we mean in triangles! As your dog is getting more comfortable with the "COME" cue, we can change the training a bit.


When you go on your morning and evening walks, toss a treat out to your left-hand side for your dog to enjoy as you keep walking.


Once they've finished their treat and lifted their head up, say "COME", and toss a treat out to your right-hand side, so your dog runs past you to get their treat.


Repeat as you keep walking, treat to the left, then right, then left and so on. Remember to say "COME" prior to tossing each treat.


Day 5


Time to bring your new recall training into your daily walks.


In a quiet spot, shout "COME", jog back as before and when your dog reaches you reward them with whatever they like most; toys, praise, treats, (or all three)!


Remember, the quicker you run back after calling "COME", the faster your dog will run to you.


Keep practising this exercise on the daily walks. If your dog doesn't come back, don't worry, recall is a difficult one to master.


Go back to easier exercise and spend more time on each task. Try to slowly raise the difficulty.


Don't do too many recalls on each walk. You need to keep the novelty of the game to keep it special


Day 6


We're on the finish line! You are doing fur-bulously


Let's add some distractions to the recall training. Start practising in a park when there are other dogs around, try doing recall in busier areas.


Often you need to use recall when your dog is distracted, so practising with distractions will help you in the future.


Make sure your rewards are exciting and tempting – especially if your dog has come away from something particularly interesting (like a squirrel or another dog). When calling them, use a happy, excited voice and welcoming body language (crouched down, arms open).


Use your recall cue sparingly, giving your dog at least five seconds to respond before calling again. Don't call again if you think they're unlikely to return, as this could teach them that it’s okay to not come back


How long does it take to train a puppy to recall?

You can learn the basics in one week

You should always be practising recall with your pup as it is one of the most fundamental skills.


But it's much easier to learn the basics as many people might think. If you follow the steps we shared above you can teach your dog the basics in one week. But it's important to keep practising every day, even if you only spend ten minutes a day.

What is a good recall word for dogs?

The best word for recall is "COME"

It's important to keep the right word (or a cue) for your puppy's recall training. It should be different to other words you often use for training, be easy for your puppy to distinguish and easy for you to say.


The last one is important as the recall is often used in emergency situations. If you use "Come here please" it might not work if your dog decided to run towards a busy road. So, the most popular word to use is "COME", but you can also make it more interesting. Here're some ideas:

  • Ahoy

  • Howdy

  • Run

  • Viens (come in French)

  • Jön (come in Hungarian)

  • Teka (come in Japanese)

What age should a puppy have a good recall?

You can start teaching the basics when your pup is around 12-13 weeks

Once your puppy got all the vaccinations and you can start taking your pup outside. This is a good time to teach them the basics of recall. You still need to keep them on a leash but your goal in the first week is to form positive associations with the word "COME". As your pup gets older they get more independent and there will be periods when their recall gets worse, but you need to keep practising.


What are the tips for good puppy training recall?


  1. Make sure your rewards are exciting and tempting – especially if your dog has come away from something particularly interesting (like a squirrel or another dog).

  2. When calling them, use a happy, excited voice and welcoming body language (crouched down, arms open).

  3. Use your recall cue sparingly, giving your dog at least five seconds to respond before calling again. Don't call again if you think they're unlikely to return, as this could teach them that it’s okay to not come back.


Master recall with the Fluffy app. Download the app today