Teaching Your Dog Emergency Recall

Most dogs that know the Come command, come when called.  But it’s not full-proof, because it’s used so often.  And because it is often used to end whatever it is your dog is doing.  Their fun things.  Teaching your dog emergency recall, that you only use in emergency situations, so that they don’t get too used to it and don’t listen, is important.  When you use the emergency recall command, as long as you only use it in emergency situations, they’ll always come.

Some people choose to use a whistle, or other noise.  But I like just a simple word, I may not have a whistle on me in an emergency situation.

Teaching Your Dog Emergency Recall

We use the word “Now”, prefaced by the name of the dog being called, due to being a multiple dog household.  You should choose something that will work for you.  A word that you rarely say in your dog’s presence works well.

You’re going to need lots of .  Small, very high value treats, so that your dog doesn’t overeat during practice.  Enough so that you can feed them treats for a few seconds each time they come to the emergency recall command you’ve chosen.

  1. Start small, without too many distractions.  Stand just a few feet away from your dog, and give the command in a happy, excited voice.  Patting your legs, acting excited, and showing him the treats to get him to come to you.
  2. As soon as he comes, celebrate.  Give him treats for about 20 seconds, lots of rubs, attention and praise.  Make it fun!  Make him think he’s done the best thing ever.  This gives him the idea that there is nothing more important, or interesting than your attention and treats.
  3. After you’ve celebrated for a few minutes, let him go do his own thing again for a little bit.
  4. Then repeat steps 1-3 for a second time.  Make sure you celebrate adequately.  He needs to know that this command ALWAYS leads to good things.  Not the end of playtime.

Practice just a couple times a day.  As he picks it up, start to distance yourself from him further and further each time.  Adding in more and more distractions.

In an emergency, you most likely won’t have treats on you.  You must celebrate though when he comes to the emergency recall command.  Celebrate like you’ve just won the lottery.  Make him understand that it’s a big deal and good things happen with that word.

Teaching your dog emergency recall is a good thing.  Just remember not to abuse the command, and use it in non-emergency situations, or they become bored with it.  Always make sure it has a happy ending, not an end to their fun.

Teaching your dog emergency recall training video

This post is part of the series 10 Basic Dog Training Commands & How to Teach Them

Other posts in this series:

  1. 10 Basic Dog Training Commands & How to Teach Them
  2. Teaching Your Dog to Come (Recall) Command
  3. Teaching Your Dog Emergency Recall (Current)

Continue reading this series:

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