Are you struggling with your dogs recall? Does your dog appear to go deaf? Do you find yourself in the park calling your dog and they are doing there own merry thing? Has your dog disappeared after a rabbit or bird and been away from you for a considerable length of time? Are you scared to let your dog off in case they don’t come back?
If you answered yes to any of the above check out my top tips to improve recall below.
Laying The Foundations
Work out what your dog finds rewarding and enjoyable. Really high value treats such as chicken or hotdogs can be really motivating or special exciting toys.
Practice reflex to name i.e. reward for attention to name. Their name is the attention grabber.
Choose a cue ie. a word to associate with recall such as: here, back, come.
If your dog is regularly ignoring the cue you use, consider whether you need to choose a new cue i.e. has your cue become irrelevant or poisoned.
It’s really important that you begin your training in low distraction environments such as in the house. You can’t expect your dog to immediately be able to recall from chasing a squirrel when they haven’t been trained in less distracting environments.
Control and Management
Until your dog can recall every time you call you need to use a long line on walks until you have sufficiently trained the recall to the highest level of distraction. This is so they don’t get to practise the behaviour of not coming back when called.
If your dog continues to practise the behaviour of not returning to you when you call, you will be undermining any work you have done already and your dog has now learned that ignoring you is more rewarding than coming back.
Putting It Into Practice
Choose low level distraction areas first and gradually build in more distractions as they get better.
Reward all auto check ins i.e. anytime they come back to you of their own accord, mark and reward. Check out this video on how to reward auto check ins.
Recall your dog, reward and then let them go again. Don’t let recall become the end of fun.
Recall and put the lead on with lots of rewards and then take the lead off again and let them go again.
Keep your dog guessing, change direction a lot. Don’t let walks become predictable, get them running around after you. Have fun!
Be your dog’s fun! You need to be more rewarding than the rabbit they are sniffing out or the dogs that they want to play with.
Get them into a toy and a game like tuggy, then you can use this when you are out on your walks. It should be a special tuggy that they get at no other times.
Hiring a private dog field to practice your recall training can be useful as you can let them off the lead safe in knowledge that they can’t run away. Check out my blog post recommending the best local dog fields in the area.
If you want some help with your recall training get in touch.