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Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Do's and Don't of a solid recall for your dog

Welcome to Siberian Saturday.
Today is the day I like to focus on my most FAV breed! The Siberian Husky.

If you have followed my Siberian Saturday posts for a while, you will probably already know that huskies are NOTORIOUS for running off, and simply cannot be trusted off lead.


A solid recall can save your dogs life? 
Yep! It sure can. If your dog gets out, and you are unable to get him safely back in the house, there are FAR too many dangers out there to even begin to mention.

You might be wondering, if a husky cannot be trusted off lead, why bother teaching recall at all?
I'll get to that in a second, but first let me take a moment to explain recall and what it means, for those of you who don't know.


RECALL : Meaning to have the ability to call your dog back to you, no matter the situation. 
If your dog happens to get outside, with no leash or lead, a solid recall will allow you to call your dog back to you, and they will actually listen! ;)


So, why is it important to teach a good recall with you husky?

The answer to that is simple.
As dog owners, I think every one of us have been in a situation where our dog(s) have darted out the door unexpectedly, or maybe on a walk, the leash slipped out of our hand, OR maybe your one of the brave ones who let your husky off lead, and experienced them not coming to you when called.

Whatever the case may be, recall can simply save your dogs life, and your own worry.

Do's and Don't of teaching recall -

Do's :

  • Teach on extra long lead
  • have loads of high value yummy treats
  • Stay positive
  • Daily recall training sessions
  • Train recall one dog at a time (for multiple dog owners)
  • After lots of long lead recall training, try it in fenced in area

Don'ts :

  • Let your husky off lead while training recall
  • Punish or yell at your dog while teaching recall
  • Bring your dog to a dog park to teach recall
  • Teach recall around other pets
  • Expect your husky to instantly know exactly what you want when it comes to recall
Quick explanation :

When teaching recall, it is super important to keep your training sessions positive.
Anything negative, and our sensitive Siberian's will likely shy away from recall training all together.


Always teach recall on an extra long lead.
Do not attempt to teach recall with an off lead dog. IMO - Huskies should never be trusted off lead regardless.
Keep high value treats on you at all times during recall training.
Training daily, will help ensure a solid recall. It may be a lot of work, but well worth it.
Once your fairly comfortable with your recall training, try going to a fenced in area.
Practicing now with no lead. Have your high value treats, and test it out!

Continue to practice recall every day.
Even when it becomes reliable, continue the training to keep it fresh in their minds.
This way, if the unthinkable happens, and your husky darts out the door, you can feel fairly confident that your training will bring him back.

Stay tuned on a future post, where I will go more into the right and wrong ways to bring your dog back home safely, should your recall fail.

*side note - This post was about the husky breed, however my recall tips apply to all breeds.


Our weekly contribution to Sepia Saturday :

Taste test mystery dog treats, Day #2!
See day #1 here.



Sepia Saturday is hosted by Ruckus the Eskie.
Co hosted by Earl's World.

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60 comments:

  1. Mom's friend in Germany has huskies and they are the best listening dogs we have ever met. Bailie and I are the occasional listeners, but we aren't allowed off leash unless it is a fenced area. We are pretty good at coming when called unless we are in hunt mode, then, no chance.

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    1. Best listening dogs? HA! She got lucky! hahaha!!!

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  2. All dogs should have a solid recall thank you for this information. Sometimes if they decide not to listen to me I yell sit and they sit down and wait. Anything to keep them from danger.

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    1. True enough. In the moment, if it's a matter of yelling, or danger, I would definitely opt for yelling!

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  3. I heard a lot of horror stories about dogs darting out the door or the garden, and having accidents and getting lost etc. This is a great technique.

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    1. Thanks, and yea, far too many dangers out there!

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  4. We do not have solid recalls, this is one reason Lee is not allowed off leash!

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    1. I work on it with my huskies all the time. I would say out of all three of mine, Lexus is the one who still needs the most work. The other two have got out and always come back to me when I call, but Lexus likes to take a stroll down the sidewalk. So it is an ongoing thing with her.

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  5. Hmmm that will get her on about my selective hearing. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. haha! Selective hearing should be huskies middles names I think! ;)

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  6. I am getting much better on my recall. Momma does leave me off leash and I do come to her. A couple weeks ago, we were out for afternoon walk and I was quite a distance in front of momma and I was "dancing" around something. As momma got closer, she noticed I was dancing around a porcupine. She yells, "No, leave it! Buddy, come" and I came to her! I only got one quill in my foot, how pawsome is that? Yes, I am getting much better and I know momma has pawsome treats when I come!

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    1. That is pretty great Buddy! Wildlife is truly the ultimate test when it comes to recall. If you are listening even when there is something SO temping, then good on ya!!

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  7. Our recall is usually the two of us sitting around laughing about something that happened. Bentley takes messages and gets back to me when he feels like it. This is why he is NEVER, EVER, EVER, off his leash except the backyard! BOL!

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  8. One of the biggest mistakes we ever made, before we knew about positive reinforcement, was to yell at the dogs when they finally did come after they hadn't listened! Now that we don't do that anymore, and they know they get treats if they come, their recall is much better! I try to remember to work on it in the yard every so often to reinforce it as you said.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Oh I know all too well what you mean. The training tips that I do share here are all things I have learned just through my own experiences. Some things I have definitely learned the hard way! I think it is an instinct for us to feel angry when they just wont come to us, then when they do, it's easy to lose your cool. BUT just makes the situation worse, so keeping cool is definitely super important!

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  9. Yeah we manage to train Vaks to come back when we calls him. However I wouldn't trust him to come back all the times, therefore he is only off leash when we walk here where we live. Here is very desolate and we can see far away, so we can see if an animal shows up, or another dog. So we can get him on a leash again.

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  10. Just did some training with Kilo the pug outside on extra long leash. Great suggestions as he came back each time I asked. He does love treats LOL. Would never trust him 100% off leash but good practise in case he escapes out the door (he bolts). Unfortunately, he still sometimes tries to attack other dogs and strangers so can't try the off leash fenced in areas near me yet. Have a great weekend

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    1. I think it's hard for anyone to actually trust their dog 100% off leash. It can just turn into a disaster quickly, so the fear is always with us.

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  11. Great post! Recall is so important!

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  12. How interesting! We've never heard about a solid recall. But then again, we're cats and we hardly ever listen to our humans. :)

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    1. hahaha!!! I think my cats can definitely relate to you!

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  13. Great tips! I'm looking forward to your post about getting your Husky back if recall doesn't work. My sister could have used these tips years ago when she had her beautiful Husky, Sierra.

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    1. Thanks! Be sure to stay tuned for part 2!

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  14. Oh my goodness it's hard enough to teach any dog a reliable recall, I couldn't imagine trying it with a Husky given their reputation for being natural wanderers. Great tips - I think staying positive and consistent is the most important part, yet the easiest to slack on.

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    1. I agree. Those 2 are definitely HUGE! And yep, with a huskies *cough cough* selective hearing, it can be difficult to teach!

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  15. My recall is a bit twitchy, but I'm very partial to gravy bones so they definitely help:-)

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  16. Positive is the key. I still remember when we were little and granny would call us to come home. Unless there was a strong incentive, we wouldn't. She would then follow with "If you don't come home right now, I'll spank you." (not that she ever would) Well, if we DON'T come how are you going to spank us?

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  17. Magic's best recall is "Wanna go for car ride?"

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  18. I agree completely with this. My sister has had a few husky crosses in her rescue and they do tend to run off. Border collies have that desire to wander. I used many of these techniques teaching Ali, except for treats. Praise is as good as a treat for a Border Collie so I've never had need to use treats. And again, as you say, I always work on it, even though her recall is 100%. Whenever we are out I will call her back randomly to keep up with it.

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    1. That's a great way to keep it fresh too! Whether or not the recall is 100%, keeping it fresh in their minds will keep it at 100%.

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  19. Recall is so important. Lots of great tips here. I would like to add that for folks with Siberian Huskies - the great Houdini escape artists - as you know, do need to take extra precautions, such as staying on a long leash with a harness while being trained, or training recall indoors to to avoid any escapes, as many Huskies will bypass the training for that born-to-run instinct. A great tip is to work with a Husky-experienced trainer and like you said, never get angry. Always positive reinforcement. And in my Husky experience, always on a long lead.

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    1. You are exactly right Dorothy. I wouldn't dare let my husky off lead anywhere but a fenced in area!

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  20. Thank you for spreading the word about recall. I know how important it is, but I'm bad because Luna's could definitely use some practice! We'll be working on it as soon as the weather gets nice.

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    1. Your very welcome. I started teaching recall every single day as soon as I became a husky mom. There are just so many horror stories about huskies darting out the door and the unthinkable happening, it (thankfully) scared me enough that I knew what I had to do.

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  21. Great advice & tips! We never leave either of our dogs off leash other than in an enclosed area, especially our Husky! Their "hard wiring" can easily kick in and they'll run for miles without stopping; it's the breed trait. Even a reliable dog can wander into harms way. We began recall training in the house where there are no distractions before moving outside. That helped since our Husky is very, very.... Alert!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Cathy, Isis & Phoebe
    www.dogsluvusandweluvthem.blogspot.com

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    1. Your right that does help. It is always best to start training anything where there is the least distractions.
      Then move your way out to more and more distractions to perfect whatever it is your training.

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  22. I totally agree with this. It is important to have a solid recall: for the dog's safety

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  23. Good post and we have practiced this over and over. It can mean life and death. TY for sharing!

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  24. A consistent recall as well as the commands Stay, Leave It and Drop It what I consider essential and life-saving commands.

    Great post.

    -Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

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    1. Agreed. All very important commands to have in our arsenal.

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  25. Great tips! Before I knew what I was doing years ago, I would try to practice recall not on a leash, big mistake! I love the updates on the blog too....I don't know how I haven't seen them yet!

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    1. haha well thank you! I always working on things over here on the blog. Haven't quite found 100% what I like my appearance to be yet, but i'm getting there I think. So important to teach while on a long lead for safety reasons, and by doing this, you are always setting your dog up for success because you can easily give them a gentle correction and praise them either way whereas off lead if the training doesn't work, it doesn't work. Everyone gets frustrated and the dog doesn't get rewarded..

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  26. Great post! :) I love when my mom and me practice this! It just seems like a fun game.

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    1. It can definitely be made into a fun game!

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  27. Very interesting! I didn't know that huskies were wanderers. I really like how you keep the training method simple and positive.

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    1. Thanks Robin. Oh yes! Huskies will escape using Houdini's magic skills and then run and run and run and run.........and run!!!

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  28. I love seeing this! I have so many people amazed that Reya is off leash trained but it took me so long to get here there and came with a lot of anxiety. I didn't even trust her off the lead for a very long until I knew she would come, even with distractions. These tips are awesome and great for all dogs, not just huskies! While my malamute can be stubborn, she rarely leaves my side when she's off the leash and I still don't trust her outside of our property. Reya's big issue is really momma being nervous and scared. lol

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    1. Thank you very much :)
      It does take a lot of time and effort, thats for sure! When I first became a husky mom, and only had my one girl, I trained a great recall, and she was always off lead. She did great, until one day she decided to make a run for it. She didn't go far, but far enough to scare me back onto a leash! BOL!

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  29. We work on recall a lot. Our dogs are reliable. When they hunt they are off lead so a good recall is a must. We start from the time they are little pups.

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