Emergency Recall: The “Trick” That Might Save Your Dog’s Life – Part 1

Guest Author: Mathew Coulton, from WileyPup

Professional trainers use the word “recall” when they talk about teaching dogs to come when called. An “emergency recall” is a special form of this command that is so powerfully charged for your canine that they will come running to you no matter what they are distracted with when away from you.

The reason every dog should have an emergency recall is specifically for that situation where your pup has slipped the lead or escaped the fence and may be in danger of being hurt, for instance, running towards a busy intersection.

In this 2-part article, we will show you the steps that you can follow to teach your dog this critical life skill. We will also give you some tips to make your emergency recall strong enough that it will do what it is intended to: save your companions life when time is of the essence!

Pick a Unique Command

You probably already have a regular “come” command. However, does your canine come when called if they happen to be into something really awesome? Probably not.

For an emergency recall, you need to choose a command that is different from the normal recall word or sound that you use. This is because it will remain in the “always rewarded” stage of training.

You will never use the emergency recall command and then put the dog in a kennel, or attach them to the lead, or in any way make their choice to come to you cost them their fun. If you are calling the dog in from the yard, or otherwise calling them away from good stuff permanently, use your regular recall command.

Use the Highest Value Reward You Can Find

What is it that your dog just cannot resist? Is it a slice of hot dog, a chunk of chicken, a piece of cheese? Whatever their favorite thing is… use that for their reward 100% of the time during training this skill. In addition, add huge and excited praise for each successful response to the emergency recall… every single time.

If your dog is not food motivated, then maybe they love a certain squeaky toy. If this is the case, you can use that toy as the reward as long as you follow a few guidelines:

First, keep that toy “charged” by only allowing your dog limited access to it. Always take it away after a few minutes of play and stow it just out of reach. This keeps it super special.

Second, don’t make the squeak of the toy your actual emergency recall sound. This will limit you in an emergency. That is, if you need to call your dog in an emergency and you don’t have the toy, then you are really in a pickle!

Tune in next week for the second half of this article, a step by step guide on the emergency recall training process!

Do you have any questions about emergency recall, or your pet’s health in general? Reach out to us today! Our Panel of Experts can help you!


Author Bio:

Mathew has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of wileypup.com, a dog lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for paw parents everywhere.


The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.