Obedience & Foundational Skills

Fun Dog Training Game to Improve Focus & Recall

October 20, 2023

I want to teach you one of my FAVOURITE dog training games.

If you prefer training videos, you can watch Millie learn the game HERE:

This exercise is really helpful if you’re working on recall, if you just want a fun way to exercise your dog and you don’t have a ton of space, or if you have a dog that tends to ignore you out on walks and you want them to pay a little bit more attention to you! It’s also great for building a default behaviour of checking in with you after something of interest!

What you’re going to need for this dog training game:

  • Long Line (I use a 15ft one to start, then longer as the dog gets good at this. I’ll link the one I use here)
  • Treat pouch (this 2 section pouch is my favourite!)
  • Dog treats
  • Loaded marker word

This dog training game is INCREDIBLY easy to teach!

Step 1: Cued “recall”

Have a handful of tiny treats. Drop 2-3 treats into the grass for your dog to sniff out and find as you run to the end of the leash.

dog training game for recall

As soon as your dog is done the treats and looks at you, call their name to encourage them to you. Mark “yes” (or whichever marker word you use) as they run over.

Reward them for coming by giving a treat, and then then put 2-3 more treats onto the ground. Repeat this process a few times.

Step 2: Phase out the cueing

Once you find that your dog starts running back to you BEFORE you get a chance to call their name, it’s a sign that you can move to step two where you phase out the cue!

You’ll still drop 2-3 treats in the grass & run to the end of the leash, but this time DON’T call their name. We now want to start building returning to you after something of interest as a default behaviour! 🙂

Wait for your dog to start voluntarily running back to you & mark “yes” as they’re approaching. We want them to know that returning is what gets the reward!

[Extra tip- make sure as you’re doing this that you’re not presenting those treats as a bribe to MAKE them come to you. You want your dog to run over on their own without seeing the treats first!]

As your dog gets good at this game you can use a much longer leash to make this extra challenging!

This dog training game is awesome as a precursor for recall, for developing the skill of returning to you after something of interest, or just as a fun way to burn off some extra energy without needing a huge amount of space.

Happy training 🙂

Disclosure: Happy Hounds uses affiliate links. Purchasing with these links will not cost you any extra, but I get commissions for purchases made through these links. Affiliate links help me to continue to offer free resources & blog posts. I would love if you used them!

Fun Dog Training Game to Improve Focus & Recall

About the author:

Stephanie Rombough, DBTMc, is a force-free dog trainer in Edmonton, Alberta. She owns Happy Hounds Dog Training, offering private in-person or virtual dog training services. 

Whether your dog is brand new to leash training OR they have a long history of pulling on leash, this program will teach you what you need to know!

Dog chases squirrels, rabbits, cats, or more? Learn how to train your dog to stop chasing animals.

Training Guides:

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you enjoyed this post I would really appreciate a share or comment to help other dog owners find it too!

My mission at Happy Hounds is to help owners train their dogs using positive, force-free methods. A trained dog is less likely to end up in a shelter, and a dog trained with positive methods is more likely to be confident & happy. Everyone wins!

More about me>

Please like & share!

join my email list!

What I Use

Take a peek at all my suggested items!

favourites items

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap