Recall: The Most Important Lesson

No dog is perfect, but ask any fur-mom, and she will say that her dog is perfect. In my case, this is no different. I think Mulligan is the most well-behaved, sweetest, smartest dog! However, after reality sunk in, I realized that our “do-over” dog needed to go back to school.

Mulligan and his mom, Ashley

Mulligan and his mom, Ashley

We decided to try K9 Central as we had heard many great things about its facility. We enrolled Mulligan in the “Radical Recall” class. It was six weeks of nothing but recall work.

Did it ever help! While I do not feel 100% comfortable having Mulligan off leash at the cottage or close to a road, I am much more confident with him at the dog park now because he comes to us when he is called.

Here are some of the great tips they taught us:

  • Always have tasty treats in your pocket. Randomly, throughout your walk with your furry friend, call their name. If they look up at you, reward them! If not, stop walking, and wait for them to look at you (patience is key, and persistence does pay off in the end!).
  • At home, put a tasty treat on your open palm right in front of your dog’s nose. If they lunge for it or try to take it, shut your hand. Do this over and over again until they sit and look at you. Once they look at you, reward them, give them the treat that was in your hand, and make a big deal of this accomplishment. This teaches them that when they focus on you, they will be rewarded.
Mulligan off leash by the lake, keeping an eye on his parents.

Mulligan off leash by the lake, keeping an eye on his parents.


  • “Watch me!” That was a major command from our class. It really helped with having Mulligan look at me instead of the distraction. I would stand straight up; have my arm away from my body with an open palm. I would place a high value treat in my hand. I would turn my back to Mulligan and say “Watch me!” Mulligan had to figure out that if he came around to face me and look at me, he would receive that tasty piece of chicken or steak!
  • Hide-and-seek: This is also a great rainy day activity for you and your dog to do if they need to burn off some energy. My husband would go off and hide in a separate room in the house (behind a dresser or the bed) and would call Mulligan. Just once, loud and clear, so Mulligan would take an interest in where he was. Shortly after, Mulligan would be on the move.  He would search and search, sometimes looking back to me for some reassurance, and then I would tell my husband to call his name again. No treats were needed once Mulligan found him! Just the praise and the game of hide-and-seek alone were enough for Mulligan to want to play over and over again!