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How To Bomb Proof My Boston Terrier’s Recall

  • September 8, 2019
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How To Bomb Proof My Boston Terrier’s Recall

I’m often asked how my two Boston Terriers have great recall. We go to the off leash dog park on a regular basis and a solid “bomb proof recall” was key for our fun and safety.

So how do you train your Boston Terrier to have a bomb proof recall? When You Call Your Dog or Boston Terriers, your cue for them to return back to you should mean food , fun and parties.

Connect with your Boston Terrier

It should go without saying that having a strong connection with your dog is the foundation to a good recall.

Your Boston Terrier should look at you as the source of all good things.

When they come to you the very best magical treats appear. Their favorite toys are brought out and it’s a full on party!

How To Bomb Proof My Boston Terrier’s Recall

Select Your Cue

Ever go to the dog park or dog beach and hear dog parents all using the same word?

“Buddy Come”

“Mindy Come”

When we had our first Boston I remember watching a YouTube video from a trainer recommending a slightly different word. So ever since they my cue for recall is the word “here” and I actually use that word at a higher pitch so that the dogs will be able to distinguish it from others who might also be using that word.

Practice At Home

We’ve been practicing the recall word at home ever since my two Boston Terriers were puppies.

It’s as simple as using it when I’m calling the dog from a sit to their food bowl.

Another example is using the recall cue when you’re calling your dog over to play with you and a toy.

Remember every time your dog responds to the recall cue, you need to show them that responding to it means that there is a food, fun or a party.

Practicing Random Recalls At Home

We have a yard and sometimes my two Boston Terriers might be sunning outside or looking for lizards.

I regularly practice recall even at home. I also use higher rewards if I know that I’m calling them off something fun like their daily lizard hunting. I may even jackpot them when they choose to come to me instead of a lizard.

Key to being successful in being able to practice recall at home is to have treats strategically placed in different locations around your house.

Also to have variety in your treats so that the payout is always different

How To Bomb Proof My Boston Terrier’s Recall

Install a Release Cue

The other half of the equation in practicing a good recall is to also practice a “release” cue.

A simple “ok go” and a movement of your hands will release your dog from their recall to go back to what they were doing in the first place.

Practice Frantic Recalls

In one of my training sessions my instructor had us practice frantic, loud recall cues.

The logic behind this is because sometimes there is a dangerous situation in front of your dog. Maybe a car accident. Or they got loose and they are about to cross the road.

And you’re probably not going to be recalling them back in a normal tone.

Chances are in a situation like that you’re going to be screaming at the top of your lungs.

So part of the practice recalls would involve frantic excited loud screaming to get the dogs back to me. The first time I did this to Maggie she looked at me like I lost my head.

But she came to me and when she did we had the biggest treat party to reinforce and reward her recall.

Have Several Place Mats around the House

From the day they were puppies we had several beds or mats around the kitchen and house.

We wanted our Boston Terriers to know these mats were their safe zones and parties happened on them. They would either get treats, pets, or toys.

Having these mats around the kitchen also allowed us to practice sit/stays and recalls from mat to mat while dinner was cooking.

By placing the training tools close to where we spend a majority of the time the two girls got daily opportunities to work on their recall skills.

How To Bomb Proof My Boston Terrier’s Recall

Moving Location and Proofing

I didn’t take the two dogs to the off leash dog park until they were older. They had to learn how to listen and respond to me first.

So we would go to our local park and walk the park.

When my Boston Terriers were about four months I would drop the leash to let them sniff five seconds. I’d then use my recall cue to call them back to me.

I would increase this duration to 10 seconds, letting them get further away, all the way up to 30 seconds. And when they came back I would pull out higher value treats and jackpot them.

If your dogs like to play fetch, you can choose to reward them with a quick session of fetch instead of a treat party.

Remember, returning to you means food, fun and party!

This exercise because part of our daily walk. I kept the sessions short. I kept the sessions short and fun.

Practice With A Long Lead

Long 15 foot leads are great training tools for practicing recalls in public areas.

If your dog needs a little guidance, you can use the long lead to apply gentle pressure to nudge your dog to come back to you.

Remember to give the verbal cue, before you tug. And when I say tug it should be at the pressure of a fairy as opposed to a six ton gorilla.

Practice this outside a dog park or a field where there are other dogs in the distance.  Your dog should be able to return to you no matter what the distraction is.

Practice Running Away and Having Your Boston Terrier Chase You

Another fun way to test your Boston Terrier’s Recall is at the park, to call them back to you but as they run towards you start running away from them. This encourages them to come chase you.

In this scenario a jackpot treat party is in order once they come to your side.

Leashing and Unleashing Should Always Be a Treat Party

My first Boston Terrier had little recall. She would run away when she saw the leash because that meant that we were leaving to go home.

Learning from my mistake I practiced treat parties every time the leash was put on, taken off, and put back on again.

We practiced this at home. We still practice this at the off leash dog park.

In essence my two have associated the leash to food. And when we leash up after they respond to a recall their energy is relaxed and they seem content.

How To Bomb Proof My Boston Terrier’s Recall

Applying this Outside

San Diego is known for having spectacular dog beaches. I didn’t bring my Boston Terriers there until they were at least eight months of age. And we had one rule. If they ever broke a recall then the party would end and we would quietly end the walk and return back home. I never wanted to let them think ignoring me was an option.

Similar to the park I would test their recall.

We would start our walks off leash and I would reward them

  • When I took the leash off
  • I’d treat and walk them (so treats every 10 feet or so
  • When my two Boston Terriers would wander off to explore the scents, I would call them back after 10 seconds.
  • I kept increasing the duration. But I never stopped testing the recall. So basically our walk was one huge chain of recalls.
  • The further they got out and returned, the more treats they received when they came back because I really wanted to reinforce and reward the more challenging recalls.

How Much Time Should I Spend Practicing Recall?

I recommend 3 short sessions a day (morning, noon and night) for the training sessions at home.

This will reinforce the behavior you’re attempting to instill and be able to call your dog off a dead rabbit if you had to.

What Kind Of Treats Work the Best For Training my Boston Terriers to a Solid Recall?

I like to keep my Boston Terriers on their toes. As such I mix up the treats. I typically will have in my house

  • Home made / dehydrated treats
  • Treats from Real Dog Box
  • Single Ingredient Treats from Amazon by Canine Cravers
  • Home made Tuna Fudge
  • Cheese

I want to keep the food part in rewarding solid recalls exciting. As such I carry a variety of different treats.

My two Boston Terriers are extremely food motivated. And they especially love it when they return to a jack pot of stinky treats like green trip or dried smelt.

Never Stop Training

Even though my two Boston Terriers are four and three years old I never stop training for a solid recall.

I feel that our daily sessions have strengthened our bonds together. And in doing so it further reinforces that coming back to me when recalled, is a wonderful positive thing to do.

How To Bomb Proof My Boston Terrier’s Recall


Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello my name is Hannah and I dance with my dogs.  A self proclaimed Boston Terrier addict, (aka breed advocate) I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to write on our Instagram.  Maggie is my socially awkward one; which I find highly relatable because I am completely out of place in large groups myself.  And Orbit is my sensitive flower.  Blow on her skin wrong (ok I might be exaggerating) and she breaks out in a rash.

You won’t read about cats here… but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to the Boston Terrier.    Read more about us. 

By, September 8, 2019
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