How to Use a Paper Plate to Teach Recall to a Dog

Use small treats during training to help motivate your dog.
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Teaching your pooch to come to you when you call him is an important command that can save your dog's life if he ever gets off his leash while you are out for a walk. Using the paper plate recall method developed by renowned trainer Dick Russell is a fun way to teach this necessary skill, because the game format of this training method helps your furry friend learn while enjoying your time together.

Step 1

Tell your dog to sit, then stay. Put a paper plate on the ground about 1 foot away from your dog and place a small dog treat on it. Tell your dog to go get it and let him eat the treat.

Step 2

Call your pet back to you after he eats the treat. Use a short phrase like, "Come here, boy!" or simply "Come!" in an excited voice so your pooch comes quickly and is ready to keep playing. Shorter commands are easier for dogs to understand.

Step 3

Change the location of the paper plate each time you try the paper plate recall, gradually moving it farther away from you and your dog. Remember to tell your furry friend to stay each time before you walk away to put the plate down.

Step 4

Add a second paper plate after your pet is used to playing this training game with one plate. Put the two plates an equal distance from you and your dog in opposite directions. Tell your pooch to go get the first treat, then call him back before sending him over to the second one.

Step 5

Vary the game after your pet is used to the two-plate drill. Put a plate behind him before sending him to the treat or call him back before he reaches the plate and give him a treat from your hand instead, if he listens.


  • Always be sure your dog is comfortable with one step in the paper plate recall training to avoid confusing him when you move onto something else.


  • Use small treats to keep your dog ready for the next little morsel during training.

  • Use plastic container lids if it is too windy for paper plates.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Paper plates