Located in Rudy, Arkansas
Serving Fort Smith, Van Buren, and surrounding areas

Recall 108: Adding low level distractions

Recall: Adding Low Level Distractions

PREREQUISITE: Your dog should be coming to you from at least ten feet away every time you call him in a low distraction environment.



  • Treats
  • Treat pouch
  • Long line (recommended)
  • 3-10 items to be used as distractions.


TRAINING ENVIRONMENT: You need to be in an environment you can control where your dog has already learned to come and is successful from 10 or more feet away.



  • You will need to figure out how far away to put distractions. You may have a feel for it, or you might need to test it out a time or two before you are successful. You want the distractions to start outside of your dog’s threshold. Click here for an explanation of thresholds.
  • With your dog in a different area, go and place several distractions around the environment where you will be practicing. These need to be outside your dog’s threshold, but they need to be in view.
  • Distractions can be:
    • Plastic shopping bags (put a rock inside so they won’t blow away outdoors)
    • Your dog’s toys
    • Mechanical toys (toys that move or make noise- not necessarily dog toys as we won’t let your dog get them)
    • Food bowls (with or without food depending on your dog)
    • People (they should start just standing, but begin to gradually move and make noise as your dog is able to handle it)
    • Realistic stuffed animals
    • Other animals
  • Bring your dog into the environment on a leash or long line, being careful to stay far enough away from the distractions that he does not go over threshold.
  • Call your dog by his name only from a few feet away from him.
  • Throw a party when your dog comes to you.
  • If your dog does not come he is over threshold. Put him away, move the distractions farther from where you are working, and try again later.
  • If he came and you threw a party, next call him from 6 feet with his recall word.
  • When he comes, throw a party.
  • Repeat one more time.
  • After the third time he comes to you, move back a few feet and try again.
  • For success, party. For failure, make it easier by getting closer to your dog.
  • Try to work until your dog is coming from 15 feet away.
  • Move a few feet closer to your distractions (or put your dog away and move the distractions A FEW FEET closer to where you are working with your dog).
  • Don’t be linear about this. Move in a zigzag or randomly get closer and farther away so your dog doesn’t pick up on the fact that you are moving closer.
  • Work the exercise again.
    After three consecutive successes, move closer to the distractions.
  • Continue to practice, moving closer and closer to the distractions.
  • When your dog is able to come to you when called and run right past the distractions to do it, choose a new environment and repeat the entire exercise there.


  • Work no more than ten recalls in a session.
  • Whenever you switch environments, go back to the beginning.
  • Practice recall with parties no fewer than three times a day.

Your dog should be coming to you around distractions from 15 feet while wearing a long line in the environments where you have trained him to.


My dog won’t come and is focused on the distractions.

Your dog is over threshold.

  • Move the distractions away.
  • Choose less valuable distractions.
  • Choose distractions that are not moving or making noise.
  • You may have to wash this entire training session and come back once your dog has calmed down.  This is normal.  It takes hours for stress hormones to leave the brain.