Mastering Vizsla Recall Training: A Step By Step Guide To Success

By: Rachel

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Are you a new Vizsla puppy owner ready to start vizsla recall training but not sure where to begin? Or perhaps you’re a frustrated Vizsla owner looking for dog recall training tips to train your dog to come back reliably.

Well look no further thank this guide where we dive into the world of recall training a vizsla. Learn the reasons why dog recall is so important, discover the essential steps for off the leash training, and gain invaluable tips and insights to ensure your vizsla’s recall is rock solid.

So, whether you’re a seasoned Hungarian Vizsla dog enthusiast or a newcomer to this gorgeous dog breed, read on to discover how to train a dog to come when called, every time.


This article is based onΒ researchΒ and personal experience as a Vizsla owner. I’m not a qualified dog trainer, breeder, Vet or dog behaviourist.


Why Dog Recall Is So Important

Dog recall training, which involves teaching your dog to come when called, is a crucial aspect of vizsla puppy training and obedience.

Unlike some other commands, the recall command isn’t just a convenience – it’s fundamental to ensure your dog’s safety, the safety of others and allows for a more enjoyable and stress free life together.

Here are five reasons why Hungarian vizsla recall training is essential.

1. Safety

Dog recall training is primarily about safety. It ensures that your dog can come back to you promptly in potentially dangerous situations.

Whether your dog is about to run into traffic, approach an aggressive dog, or wander into hazardous areas, a reliable recall command can prevent accidents and protect your dog.

2. Off-Leash Freedom

A well-trained recall allows your vizsla to enjoy off-leash activities safely.

This is particularly important for vizslas as they are a high energy dog and need to exercise off leash.

Whether it’s playing at the dog park, hiking, enjoying a day at the beach or hunting with their owner, knowing your dog will come when called gives them the freedom to explore and work while giving you peace of mind.

3. Bond And Trust

Recall training strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It’s a demonstration of trust and communication.

When your dog learns to respond to your recall command consistently, it enhances the mutual understanding and respect in your relationship.

4. Legal Compliance

Many places have leash laws that require dogs to be under control at all times.

Having a dog with a solid recall means you can comply with these laws while still giving your vizsla some freedom to roam.

5. Happier Days

A well-trained vizsla is a joy to live with. Knowing that you can call your dog to you in any situation reduces stress and allows for a happier and trusting relationship.

You can confidently take your dog out in public, to the park, have guests over, or enjoy peaceful walks without worrying about your dog’s behavior.

Preparing For Vizsla Recall Training

To begin teaching the recall command to your vizsla, there are a few things you’ll need to gather first:

  1. High value treats
  2. Leash and collar or harness
  3. A check cord (long training rope)
  4. A distraction free environment

1. High Value Treats

In the early days of recall training your vizsla puppy, I recommend you use high value treats to reward them as every time they come to you when called.

Good options include:

  • Cooked chicken
  • Cubed cheese
  • Cooked sausage
  • Raw or cooked beef

Cut the treats into very small pieces as you will giving them a lot in each session!

2. Leash And Collar

You should already have these, but if not, you will need a good quality collar and dog leash.

Even when training inside the home and on your property, training with a collar and leash ensures your dog cannot ignore you as you call them back to you.

If you’re training an adult vizsla with a poor recall, I recommend you invest in a good quality harness, as sudden movements on a long check rope can cause injury to your dog.

If you are looking for a harness, see our vizsla harness reviews here.

3. Long Check Cord

Once you’ve mastered the basics of the recall command and start venturing further afield, I recommend you invest in a long check cord – also known as a training lead.

These are extra long ropes (5-50ft) that allow you to move further away from your dog, without losing control over them.

I recommend a 20-30 foot (6-9 meters) check cord, as any longer than that becomes quite unwieldy and heavy to manage.

I like the Mighty Paw Check Cord as it is lightweight, highly visible and designed to be tangle free.

Mighty Paw Check Cord
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4. Distraction Free Environment

Finally, find a distraction free environment to start training your vizsla.

The best place is inside the home, ideally away from distractions like other pets, children and toys.

You want enough room for you to be able to move a few metres away from them but not so big they can escape easily.

Once you have all these things in place you’re ready to start working on recall with your dog.

Vizsla puppy on long lead in parklands.

How To Train A Vizsla To Come When Called

It is a good idea to recall training the day you bring your vizsla puppy home as it can take anywhere from 3-6 months to achieve a reliable recall with regular recall training.

It is also likely you will experience set backs as your dog moves through the teenage years (6-18 months) and more frequent training will be required during those times.

This recall training schedule depends on the personality of your pup and how much time you dedicate to positive and repetitious recall training.

Essentially teaching your dog to come when called can be broken down into 4 steps:

  1. Reward the action
  2. Add the cue
  3. Respond to the cue
  4. Reinforce the cue

Note: These steps are for companion dog recall training and not gundog recall training. If you plan to train your vizsla to hunt, you will need to seek out a specialist trainer.

Let’s take a look at each of these steps in detail.

1. Reward The Action

Your objective in this first step is simply to get your puppy running towards you.

This step can take anywhere from a single session to a couple of days, depending on how often you train and how high value your treats are!

Note: I refer to puppies in the steps below, but the same principles apply for adult vizsla dogs. You need to start at the beginning if your dog has never been trained to come back to you when called.

You want puppy to learn that YOU are the most exciting, fun person on the planet and for them to discover that awesome things happen when they come to you – treats, cuddles, praise and fun.

To make this happen, move away from your dog and when they follow you, mark the action and offer a treat.

Tip: You can use a clicker to mark or a single short word, like “Good” or “Yes”.

Repeat this action many times in your low distraction environment, rewarding your dog each time they follow you.

You may choose to perform this both inside and in your yard, but just be sure it is low distraction.

The video below demonstrates this first step training for you.

If your puppy does not follow, make a fun noise, wave your arms above your head, or run away from them to grab their attention and reward multiple times when they come to you.

Repeat this training until your puppy is consistently following after you before moving on to the next step.

2. Add The Cue

Now you want to start using your cue in conjunction with the action of your puppy running after you.

A simple word like “come” or “here”, or using a whistle, works well. Pick one method and be consistent.

The most important thing in this step is to ONLY use the cue word once your pup is ALREADY coming towards you. This is demonstrated in the video above.

So move away from your dog, as your dog commits to running towards you, use your cue word and reward them when they arrive.

Repeat this activity over and over for at least a week, marking and treating every time your dog come towards you.

Once your puppy is doing this consistently, it is time to move on to step 3.

3. Respond To The Cue

Now it’s time to start training your dog to come to you on cue instead of simply chasing after you.

Start in a low distraction environment. If you are outside in the yard it is a good idea to place them on a long check cord while you are conducting training for this command.

Move away from your dog, wait for them to look up at you, then use your cue word or action to call them to you.

When they return to you, reward them heavily with treats, praise and affection.

If your dog does not come on cue, make yourself more exciting by waving your arms or run away or even go back to the previous step next time you train.

Never punish them for not coming. Simply try again with more movement, a higher pitched voice and/or a higher value reward and reward heavily when they DO return.

Watch the video below which demonstrates this step in more detail.

If you already have my vizsla puppy planner, you know how important establishing a routine is for your puppy.

Once your puppy learns that coming to you is fun, it’s time to incorporate the recall command into your daily puppy routine.

  • Play fun recall games with other family members
  • Call them to come at random times at home and in the yard
  • Increase the distance each time

Repeat this step over and over at home for at least a week or so, until your dog understands the cue and consistently returns to you on cue. Then you are ready to move to the final step.

4. Reinforce The Cue

In this step you’re training your dog to come back to you regardless of the distractions around them.

This is the final step to embedding a solid recall in your dog.

There’s no doubt this step can be challenging for vizslas, many of which have a strong prey-drive and heightened sense of smell.

But you have laid the groundwork with steps 1-3 and now it’s time to reinforce the recall command.

You want your dog to be successful, so most importantly, don’t rush this step and don’t put them in situations where they are likely to fail.

It is likely to take months of consistent training to move from a semi-reliable recall to a rock solid one.

It is important to note that what is classified as high distraction can vary from dog to dog and you will need to customize this step for your dog,

Some are obsessed with running up to small children, others cannot resist chasing a squirrel or following the scent of a possum or deer. Some love to find and roll in fox poo…

So make a plan for all the types of distractions and nearby locations where you need to train your dog, taking their particular “obsessions” in to account.

Vizsla dog recalling to owner.

Then start taking your dog to medium distraction level places on a long check cord, and eventually progress to training the command off-leash.

Then move on to high distraction locations and types of distractions.

Examples of distractions include:

  • Food scraps
  • Other adults
  • Small children
  • Other dogs
  • Balls
  • The postman
  • Cats
  • Picnics
  • Small prey animals like chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits
  • Wild animals large and small.

The different types of places where you might train the command include:

  • The dog park
  • Beach
  • Creeks and rivers
  • Forest walks
  • On the farm
  • Near playgrounds
  • At home with guests
  • In other people’s homes when visiting
  • In the yard from a distance.

Repeat this step over and over, gradually training in different locations, with varied types of distraction as well as increasing the distance from which you call them.

On every walk, you should recall them multiple times. Sometimes from just a few feet away, other times from further away.

The secret to achieving success is to train the command in all kinds of situations, every day.

Continue to reward, and when they come to you from high distraction situations, reward heavily.

And that’s it – with consistent training and many repetitions, your dog will become more reliable and trustworthy off leash.

What To Do When Your Dog’s Recall Is Not Improving

If your vizsla dog won’t come when called, here are a few things you can do:

  • Go back to the previous step to reinforce the basics
  • Spend more time recall training each day
  • Make it more fun! Have more energy, make more movement, give more praise.
  • Increase the value of the treat to make it worth it for your dog
  • Reduce the distractions until they master the step

If after trying these things you still need help, it is worth investing in some professional training to help.

You could find a local dog trainer experienced with vizslas, or alternatively sign up for this excellent online recall training course.

Super affordable and video-based to work through at your own pace, this course comes with professional trainer support and a money back guarantee. Click here to find out more.

Top Tips For Training A Vizsla Off Leash

As you train your vizsla through each of the recall training steps, keep these vizsla recall training tips in mind.

1. Make It Fun

Puppies and adult dogs love having fun. So make the recall training fun with high energy, plenty of treats, loads of affection and praise for your dog.

2. Slow And Steady

Don’t rush through each step too quickly. You want your dog to nail each step of the training before moving on to the next section.

It can feel frustrating to move so slowly, but the long term benefits will far outweigh the slow progress in the beginning.

3. Repetition Is Important

Practicing recall over and over is key to success. It is such an easy command to integrate into your daily routine inside and outside the home – so practice often.

Also practice in lots of different places with different types of distraction, every week.

Tip: Keep track of their recall training progress in our vizsla puppy training planner. See it here.

4. The Trilogy Of Rewards

Will Atherton Canine Training talk about the trilogy of rewards for your dog – high value treats, affectionate praise (cuddles and pats) and vocal inflection (using a high pitched, excited voice).

Using all three in tandem for important commands like recall training is a good way to help reinforce the value for your dog to follow this command.

Vizsla dog on lead in forest.

5. Maintain Rewards

Owners often stop rewarding their dog once they think a command has been learned. And for some training (such as loose lead walking) this makes sense.

But for important commands like recall, continuing to reward your dog is a good way of reinforcing and maintaining their desire to return to you, no matter what the distraction.

6. Never Punish Your Dog

If your dog takes their time coming back to you, or it takes a few calls to get them back off-leash, it is important to reward them for making the choice to (finally) come back.

You may not offer them a treat, but you should still acknowledge they made the right choice with physical or vocal approval.

Punishing them for not coming back or coming back too slowly will set you back and is not helpful, particularly for sensitive dogs like vizslas.

7. Don’t Water Down The Cue

If your dog ignores your command to come back it can be tempting to repeat the cue, over and over.

The risk when doing this is that the dog learns it is okay to ignore you and you undo a lot of your good work.

Ideally you will have your dog on a long lead until they consistently come back to you with one call.

If they ignore you, a gentle tug on the lead and moving away from them should help remind them what they are supposed to do.

But if they are off-lead, wait a few minutes (if they are not in danger), wait for them to look back to you, or watch until they move away from the distraction, then call them back again.

And if your dog is consistently ignoring you, it might be time to go back a step to reinstate the training or try lower distraction environments.

8. Be Consistent

As with every type of vizsla dog training, it is so important to be consistent.

Use the same cue, the same physical action or equipment (like a whistle) every time you train your vizsla.

vizsla running with text overlay how to teach a vizsla to come when called.

Vizsla Dog Recall Training FAQS

Do vizslas have good recall?

Yes, Hungarian vizslas can be trained to have good recall. They are a smart and biddable dog breed and respond well to positive reinforcement and consistent training.

When should I start recall training my vizsla puppy?

You can start playing fun recall games with your puppy from as early as 8 weeks.

Recall training takes many months so starting right away with simple games helps get the process rolling.

How long does it take for a dog to learn recall?

It may take 3-6 months to establish a reliable recall with your vizsla and up to 12 months for a solid recall.

The length of time will vary depending on the frequency and effectiveness of your recall training.

Before You Go

I hope you found these tips for teaching your dog to come helpful.

Don’t forget to download your free recall distraction checklist here

If you have a new vizsla puppy, check out our helpful vizsla puppy planner here to track your training progress.

And head to our guide to Hungarian vizsla puppies for all our care and training guides.

More Hungarian Vizsla Training Tips

Or, browse all the vizsla training articles here.

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Rachel

Rachel is the founder of It's a Vizsla. She is a Hungarian Vizsla owner and general dog enthusiast! She loves to research and share practical tips to help other vizsla owners care for their dogs.

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