The "come back to me when I call" game

by Tamsin Durston // May 2017

 The "come back to me when I call" game

Teaching a dog to come back when you call her is a potentially life-saving game… you never know when something dangerous might happen when you’re out and about and you need to get your dog back to you quickly! It’s also what being a responsible dog owner is all about, as if my dog comes back to me whenever I call her I can keep her safe, keep other people and any other animals in the environment safe, and it will also mean I can let her have more enjoyment in different places off-lead, knowing I can call her back whenever I need. We can both be confident and have a happier time all round without causing anyone any bother!

Teaching through play is a brilliant way to engage your dog and really connect with them – the more fun Coco thinks I am the more she will want to be with me, keep her eyes on me, and stay with me…   coming to me whenever I call her!

One of my favourite things is to play a ‘recall’ game with Coco using small bits of sausage, cos that’s what she likes! But you could use any type of treat your dog likes or use a ‘pic n mix’ type mixture of a variety of her favourite treats… or you could even use a portion of her dinner, just bring it out with you to the park!

I start by letting her off-lead then call her to me and when she approaches, I throw a treat through my legs then as she goes through to pick it up I run in the opposite direction, calling her again and then as she comes to me I’m throwing the treat for her in a different direction….  I move in different directions and build up the distance I get from her. Coco is always rewarded for turning to look at where I’ve gone! It’s important that I remember to call her and say “come” to teach her that this means run towards me as quickly as you can and it will be the best choice you can make right now!

I keep her interested in me and the game by changing things up – sometimes I’ll throw the treat through my legs for her to go and get, sometimes I’ll turn in a circle then throw it out for her to chase, and sometimes I’ll just give it to her from my hand – this keeps her guessing, keeps her interested and always involves her having to connect with me… One time she even looked away from a crow hopping along at one point… that’s cos I was moving and she was getting to chase me, so she didn't have to chase the birdie!

Why not have a play today? Show us how you are getting on… you can tweet us @dogschoollondon or Instagram us #dogschoollondon