How to use a recall training lead

After a rather frustrating trip to national pet supplier where you can buy all manner of dog related paraphernalia including a dog bow tie – I was unable to purchase what is (in my mind) a training essential, and that is the long training lead which helps to teach recall.

I was able to purchase (should I have desired to) any manner of different extendable leads. Any type of short lead (including a ‘bungee’  😕 ) a multitude of different head and body harnesses, but not just a basic recall training lead.

What’s a recall training lead?

A recall training lead is like a normal nylon lead, it clips onto your dog’s collar or harness, but it is much longer.  As the name would suggest you use it for recall training.  It allows you to help your dog to learn to come to you from a bit of a distance, without you having to let go of them – while you are building up your confidence in them, and they are learning that coming back to you when called is a good thing.

Why not just use an extendable lead?

Many reasons, including:

  1. They can break.
  2. They can burn your hands if you try to grab hold of them.
  3. You have less control if you want to shorten it (no problem if your dog wants to though).
  4. They create the feeling for your dog that they are ‘pulling’ even if only a little, so that makes them feel like the decision maker.

None of these things are helpful if you are trying to teach recall.

So how do I use a recall training lead?

  • Take your dog to an area that you want to allow them a little space.
  • Swap their regular lead over for a long one.
  • Let them have a little of it, to sniff about.
  • Call them back to you in a positive, encouraging way.
  • If they come back, praise, fuss, treat and allow them to go again, give a little bit more space this time.
  • Repeat several times over several walk occassions, with lots of different stuff going on in the background.
  • If they do not come back when called simply ravel the lead back in again – they lose their freedom!
  • Keep this going over several days/weeks until you are confident that they always come back.

If you found this article helpful, you might also like my article on how to get your dog to walk to heel.


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