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As part of my service here at CHDT (CHARLESWORTH DOG TRAINING), I offer a ‘train to re-home’ programme

A while back I received an email from a lovely dog owner. She wanted me to take her 4 month old French Bulldog

She insisted I took him for FREE! Although, obviously I offered to pay, as I make the money it would usually cost for training when I re-home him. But it wasn’t about the money for her. It was about finding the dog a loving home after great training

The owner simply didn’t have time to put in the training as she’d started a new, demanding job

Hugo NEEDED training. I SAID YES!

He was a wild pup! He pulled on his leash, zig-zagging in front of me on a walk, grabbing everything he saw on the ground.. Stones, sticks, rubbish, cigarette butts, metal, glass!

He wouldn’t come back to me when he was let off the leash (in a secure field, obvs). He pee’d and crapped in the house, he nipped at fingers and feet, bit clothing, ran off with shoes left by the door.. The list goes on

HE HAD ZERO ENGAGEMENT WITH ME (and his previous owner)

This had to be fixed before I introduced him to his new owner!

If not, there is always a chance that (unless the next owner was a pro dog trainer) Hugo could be re-homed AGAIN

The sad reality is, this happens too often, but most people don’t sell/give the dog to a dog trainer of course. They sell to the next unknowing family. That family finds the dog too much, and the cycle continues

DAY ONE, I let him do what he does so I could assess his behaviour and figure out what he’s doing and why he’s doing it

DAY TWO, I started the training. I dedicated four hours a day

I figured out it wasn’t a stress or anxiety thing. He just didn’t know how to behave. He didn’t know what I (or his previous owner) wanted from him

Because of this, he thought, “I’ll just do whatever then”.

The good thing is, he wasn’t showing any signs of trying to act ‘leader of the pack’ as such.. Except the pulling on the leash part

Carl - Why are you saying LEASH? We’re not in America 🇺🇸, we’re in the UK 🇬🇧.. It’s lead! - I get that, but I like using the word LEASH.

When I’m talking about dogs, it makes it easier to differentiate when I say stuff like, the dog lead me to the toy, or, I’m the leader, I’ll lead him, and, he’s on his leash

ANYWAY.. Let’s skip all the way forward to day 9 of training Hugo

He is now walking nicely by my side, he has no interest in anything on the floor, his recall is on point, he does a cute, quiet bark when he needs the toilet and only craps and wee’s outside

He doesn’t nip skin or bite clothes. Now and again he grabs my shoe ready to leg it around the living room for a game of chase, but I command, “leave” and he drops my shoe and grabs his toy

DAY 11: With the important stuff sorted, I had a bit of fun teaching Hugo a spin and paw. Yes, “paw” is an easy teach, but I took it a bit further. When we get back in the front door after a walk, I show him the towel, and he sits down and offers me his paws to be wiped. BLESS HIS BEAUTIFUL HEART



DAY 14, he’s ready to go. OMG, I was super tempted to keep the funny looking, yet cute and adorable doggy!

But he goes off to his new home - I teach the new owners all the command words and body language


I’ve already done loads of typing, my fingers are going numb. (I hope people are reading this)!

I SHOULD WRITE A BOOK! Should I? Should I write a book? Nah, I shouldn’t. Should I? No? Nooo. Yes? I won’t. I might.

I’m not gonna’ explain it all, so let’s explain the recall training in this blog, and maybe do another one with the rest.. Keep an eye out for that 👁️

RECALL (Come Back when Called)

Hugo is let off the leash.. He takes off like a fighter jet! He’s belting it around the field..


“LOOK! A bird, I’m gonna get it.. Wahooo.. Oh, I missed it! WOW, a squirrel, I’m off! Oh look, AIR! I’m just gonna leg it”


“Hugo”… … …    Nothing!

(Even though he knows “focus”, he’s way too excited at the minute)

First of all, here’s what I don’t do when it’s time to leave..

“Hugo! Huuuugoooo! Come! Come here! Hugo! HUUUGGOOOOO”!!

Also, I don’t chase him, I don’t scream, I don’t panic

Shouting loud does NOT make your dog listen. It does NOT make your dog come back to you

Because dogs don’t understand our human language, all they hear when you shout is noise.

Dogs can take this noise as encouragement

Think about it; when a dog is in that giddy, playful, excited state and suddenly they hear their loving human shouting / making noise, they hear, “YEEAAAH, GO FOR IT, WAHOOOO, FASTER, GO ON BOY”!

Chasing a dog means playtime to them, so don’t be surprised when your dog runs faster to get away, and starts dodging you. In your dogs mind, you’re playing chase. He thinks you want him to run away and dodge the catch! “Wahooo, tag”!

So what did I do to get Hugo to come back to me? And what did I do to make him come back every time, even if he see’s a rabbit?

I’ve made him realise great things happen when he is with me

I’ve already established engagement earlier in the training, so Hugo knows about that stuff now

It’s important to connect with your dog before starting the rest of the training. I have videos on the website teaching this. So the recall training is really stage 2 (after engagement)

There are a few methods you can use for recall. I’ll list my top 2 methods. The one that worked with Hugo is RUNAWAY & PAY (Not the known terminology). That’s my phrase, but I’ll explain:

METHOD 1: Long Line Recall.

I have a 30 foot leash. I throw a ball. The dog chases the ball. When the dog gets to the end of the line/leash, I shout, “HUGO” and immediately pop the leash to grab the dogs attention

Don’t spit your biscuits out, it’s not cruel. It’s a pop, not a tug.

If the dog comes back, I pay him. Payment can be food, toys or praise and petting. If he doesn’t come back, I use the long line (right after the pop) to guide him back to me, giving the line a gentle pull to show him the way

Even if I needed to guide him, I still pay him when he gets to me. This is called POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. Rewarding your dog is reinforcing the behaviour they just did

If you give your dog a treat when he’s barking at people, to “shut him up”, you’re actually reinforcing that behaviour. You’re telling the dog that you want them to bark at people. “Oh, if I bark at people, I get paid, awesome”.

More on that in another blog. Watch out for that one.

I digress.

Repeat the process above and eventually lose the leash

OH! So the reason I use the dogs name for recall, rather than “come” or “here” is because if I have a few dogs in the training field and want just one or two to come back (for a demonstration or something), if I shout “come”, they’ll all leg it back to me

I only use the dogs name when I'm introducing him to people or when I want him with me


Overusing your dogs name becomes white noise to them. You say it in so many scenarios, it gets confusing, and in most cases, they start to ignore that name/word/noise.

“Hugo, come. Hugo, why did you do that? Hi Hugo. Bye Hugo. Back soon Hugo. Hugo, No! Hugo, Hugo, Hugo.

METHOD 2: Runaway & Pay.

This is my favourite method and the one I ALWAYS try first


When I’m ready to leave, I make some noise to get his attention. The second I get eye contact, I run away (okay, I walk away quite fast). The dog is still in play mode, so thinks, “oi, where are you going”? If he follows me and approaches me - the second he does approach me, I say, “Hugo” and pay him. I then say, “break” and throw a ball or just step forward in a playful manner so he runs around again

Here, I’m training two commands at a time; “HUGO”/recall and “BREAK”/you can go play.

I repeat this a few times. Now he’s starting to understand what break AND Hugo / come means

After a few repetitions of this, while he’s on his break (running around), I stand still and say, “Hugo” - and HELLO… He came running back. I pay him. I repeat that too. “Break” a few seconds later, “Hugo”. He understands the command, he obeys the command. Now his recall is on point! Good Boy




Thank you for your time

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