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3 Super Fun Games to Improve Your Dogs Recall

Holly Leake
We all want our dogs to enjoy some freedom,
but the fear that our dog won’t come back when called, can cause us to be restrictive. 
Granted, recall is one of the facets of training dogs struggle with most because the world is so interesting and let’s be honest we aren’t always as exciting to them. So, how can you be as exciting and interesting as the environment? This blog is going to consider 3 super fun games that will instantly improve your dog’s recall. 

Target Training

Target training is one of my most favourite things to teach and use with my own dog. After teaching clients this training in class, many have given me amazing feedback on how its revolutionised their recall. Target training is used to train large animals, such as tigers, turtles, Stingrays, whales and dolphins, in order to move them in certain positions and to perform medical examinations. It works by creating an association between touching a target and receiving a tasty treat. This target can then be moved to encourage certain behaviours.

To teach your dog target training, place one treat in the palm of your hand and hold it out near your dog. When your dog touches your hand with his nose, praise them and release the treat. You are just after a gentle nose bop so don’t reward any biting or mouthing of your hand and be careful not to move your hand towards your dog. You want your dog to move towards you.

Practice this a few times till your dog becomes confident and then you can begin adding the cue word “touch” as your dog touches your hand. After several sessions of this, you can begin saying “touch” to cue the behaviour. Once your dog is competent at this game, you can place an empty hand out to your dog, saying “touch” and then rewarding your dog with a treat from your other hand. You can also begin holding your hand at different heights and on the move, to challenge your dog.

Now you can build this fun game into your recall by allowing your dog to move away from you and then shouting “touch” and holding your hand out. Your dog will eagerly run to you to play the game! You can even build this into another game, such as recall tennis and have 2 players taking it turns to ask for touch and having your dog run backwards and forwards. With target training, the sky’s the limit!