Come when called!
Its really important that we teach dogs to come when we call them, not only does this mean we can safely let them off lead but also that we can get them back to us should danger appear.
First you need to decide what word you want to use for recall. This can be whatever you like, but make sure it’s something that isn’t name and you are happy to shout out in the park! It could even be a whistle or squeaky toy – the benefits of these is that they always sound the same to the dog and can be used by multiple people. You need to ‘charge up’ your recall command, so creating the positive association between the word/whistle and good stuff happening by you (treats or a game with a toy). So, with your dog by you, say the word/whistle and when they look at you reward them. You don’t expect your dog to come closer you are just associating the word with the fact you have treats. This creates the association, so when your dog is further away they will head to you for the reward. Being near you is where the good stuff happens!
To start with for recall, we keep your dog on lead. Back away from your dog a step and use your recall word in a happy excited voice, as they come towards you tell them ‘good’ reward with treat on floor, as they are busy eating it, step back and as their head comes up, call them and repeat.
Boomerang dog game
Throw a treat a metre or two away, let your dog go and get it and eat it, then call them. As they get to you, tell them ‘good’ and then throw the next treat out for them to get. This can be done at home or on a long line. So your dog is always busy either going to get the treat or coming back to you.
Starting to practice recall- top tips!
- Use a long line- a safety net and you can relax a little, stops your dog practising the wrong behaviours and as they progress you can leave it trail behind them on floor rather than holding it
- Pick your battles- pick quiet environments with few distractions
- Use super tasty treats- chicken/ham/cheese/hotdog!
- Practice, practice, practice 25-30 reps a day, think of all the extras -when you feed your dog, when you call your dog in from garden!