Large white dog running in the park off the lead

Are you struggling with recall training your dog? This is, without a doubt, the biggest issue dog owners have. Training your dog to come when called can be a lengthy process, and you’ll need to continue with recall training for life.

The most common story we hear from customers is that their dog is ok with recall most of the time, but specific triggers will just completely overwhelm their dog, to the point where they ignore all verbal commands. If you want a safety net when you take your dog off-leash, an e-collar is an excellent investment.

Before we explain how to teach your dog recall with an e collar, let’s go back to basics.

What Does Recall Mean?

In the context of dog training, recall refers to the act of calling your dog to come to you, and always expecting them to respond enthusiastically and come back.

That means they will turn away from fun stimuli like other dogs, other humans, other animals, food and exciting smells to return to us. Recall training is essential; it can stop a dog eating something they shouldn't, running onto busy words, getting hurt by others or hurting others.

What is an E-Collar?

An electronic collar, otherwise known as an e collar, is a small device attached to a traditional dog collar. An e collar is an umbrella term, under it are bark collars and training collars. For this blog, the e-collars we will be referring to are training collars.

What is a Training Collar?

A training collar is a dog collar that includes a remote control, so you control when your dog gets a correction. This allows you to issue corrections for specific behaviours or issues only your dog has. E.g. recall, jumping, aggression, barking at specific triggers etc. Training collars can give varying types of corrections, including static corrections, beeps, vibrations and citronella sprays.

What is the Difference Between a Bark Collar & a Training Collar?

The difference between a training collar and a bark collar is that a bark collar will only correct barking, but a training collar can correct any behaviour. This makes it the perfect tool for recall training, as you issue the correction in the exact moment it’s needed.

 Large block dog bounding in the park

Will an E-Collar Keep my Dog From Running Away?

An e collar will give your dog off-leash freedom at a much faster rate than regular recall training.

No training method is 100% bulletproof, but it’s very likely you will obtain a rock-solid recall from your dog if you’re willing to put in the work and be patient.

How Do You Use an E-Collar for Recall?

These are the three steps you need to follow to train that rock-solid recall into your dog.

1. Find the right e-collar setting

Much like humans, every single dog is different. And every dog will perceive the correction from an e-collar slightly differently. You need to take the time to identify an intensity setting that is suitable for your dog to notice it, but not high enough to upset them.

Take your dog to a training area, and whilst they are wearing an e collar and have a long lead (around 15 ft long) attached to their normal collar, let them explore.

Whilst they explore, put the e-collar on the lowest intensity. Press and see if your dog reacts, continue to do so at random whilst gradually increasing the intensity. Observe to see when your dog reacts, they may stop and look up, they may turn their head over their shoulder, they may shake their head, and some may try scratch at the collar.

Once you find an intensity your dog responds to, stop increasing the intensity and instead repeat using this setting at random to make sure that your dog did notice the e collar.

The ideal setting is one that is high enough for your dog to notice without them panicking or being in distress.

2. Introduce the commands

Now that you have the perfect intensity level for your dog, it’s time to work on getting your dog to come when called.

Let your dog explore and become engaged in exploring. Command “here” (or any other word you want to use for recall) in a normal tone and send a correction whilst gently pulling your dog towards you with the lead.

Stop sending corrections once your dog moves towards you. If they stop before coming back to you, repeat the “here” command and send another correction.

Give your dog plenty of praise for returning to you, and wait a moment before allowing them to explore again. Use the command “ok” (or any other word you use for release) and allow your dog to return to their exploration.

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Do this again and again, and ensure you issue a correction straight after your verbal command.

The sequence is the verbal command “here”, begin sending corrections, gently pulling the lead in towards you. Once they come in, praise, and release with another verbal command. Stop the e collar corrections and pressure on the lead as soon as your dog starts to move towards you.

Make sure to be consistent with that sequence; your dog will associate all of these actions together. By forgetting one, they may forget the rest of the sequence.

What Does Successful Recall Training Look Like?

Once you’ve practised this a million times in different locations, surrounded by a variety of triggers, your dog’s recall should improve.

You’ll know they are improving when they respond immediately to your “here” command, they linger longer near you after each recall and whilst they explore, they are mindful of where you are.

Small black and white cavalier king charles spaniel running on the lawn

Be Consistent With Dog Recall Training

There are a few things you need to ensure you do when training recall with your dog, but the overarching theme is consistency.

Make sure your dog comes all the way back to you when you command. You don’t want to reward them if they stop halfway, change direction or if they stop just out of reach. They should come back close enough to you that you can reach down and touch them.

The other thing to be conscious of is not over-training them. If you command “here” too frequently, they will stop leaving your side altogether.

Make sure you give your dog time to sniff, explore and be immersed in their environment before you call them back. Keep the calls random, and let them play and be distracted for varying lengths of time before you call them back.

General Dog Recall Training Tips

Both dogs and humans learn best when they practise their new skill every day, if you can, ideally train your dog to come when called around five times per week.

Keep sessions to 20 minutes or so, but if you have a high energy dog, you can do longer training sessions or train twice per day.

Allow your dog to relax after training; it’ll let all that practice and information sink in so they can retain more for next time!

What is the Best E-Collar for Recall Training?

The best training collar should:

  • Properly fit your dog’s neck.
  • Have all the features you need for your lifestyle.
  • Have different levels of correction to suit your dog.
  • Be easy to use.

You can compare all of eDog Australia’s remote training collars via our buying guide. This comprehensive guide allows you to analyse every feature and function for all of our remote training collars in one place.

If you want to teach your dog to come when called, an e collar is an excellent investment. Your dog will learn faster, the stress you get when your dog is off-leash will be diminished, and you’ll build a stronger bond with each other. Check out our extensive range of training collars here and start training!


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