Calling your dog back and it turning and coming back to you seems like one of the simplest things. You call, they come back, job done! It isn’t that simple though and there are many dogs without a recall running about and some that are never let off lead in the first place.
I have three dogs, all of them can recall and do now 90% of the time. I only say 90% because if I am honest I am still not as exciting as a pheasant or a deer! This is why even though my oldest is 4 years old, I am still constantly recalling and rewarding because I want my dogs to know that I am the best thing and it is worth coming back!
So we will give you some tips to get a good recall and a few things not to do!
How to get a speedy recall….
- What does your dog love above all else? This is vital! For Lily and Mozi, food was brilliant, they love food, they can eat it all day and they both came back for it every time. Dill on the other hand, you gave him food and he spat it out! So what did he like? Well not a lot to be honest, there was nothing that was as good as hunting! We did eventually find some toys that he really loved, especially squeaky balls! So we had a reward, which was something that could be worked with.
- Think about what word you want to use to call them, or even maybe a whistle! Dogs listen to you say their name so many times a day that they start tuning out so try and think of another word, maybe ‘here’ or ‘come’. There is also the option of a whistle as it has no emotion attached to it, it’s very easy to sound angry without even meaning to and a whistle takes all that emotion out of it.
- Start the training at home! There are a few things you can do at home, you can throw a treat, run off and call your dog then give them a few treats when they reach you, this starts to build up a pattern of behaviour. Even dogs that won’t take food outside might do inside if you make it a game! Play hide and seek! Throw a treat into another room, while your dog goes to eat it, run off and hide, then call your dog!
- Move the training into the garden or a safe enclosed space. You don’t want to find anywhere that is too distracting so somewhere they visit a lot and if you don’t have a garden or safe enclosed area, find maybe a small green or park and use a long line so that your dog can’t go off and enjoy themselves without you!
- Don’t be afraid to use a long line! Some people don’t like to use them but they are a really useful tool, especially when training a recall!
- Reward, reward, reward! Whether using a treat or a toy it doesn’t matter but every time they come back to you reward them, even if you didn’t call them! If the dog is ‘checking in’ then that is even better and you really want to reward that too!
- Don’t tell them off, even when they run off! I know it is hard when you can see your dog running off in to the distance but how ever frustrating it is and however much you wish to scream just don’t. If you tell your dog off once they are back with you they will pair the telling off with coming back to you and it will reduce the likelihood of them coming back in the future.
- Going backwards is normal! Just because things are going well doesn’t mean they always will so don’t be afraid to go back a few steps. Dill ended up on a long line for a good 18 months on and off because something would happen and he had to go back to basics.
- Do not take your dog’s recall for granted! Always reward and if you can’t for whatever reason, try to next time! If you stop rewarding the recall then over the time you will find the dog takes longer to come back and eventually it may disappear completely!
If you want more details on how to get a good recall then just get in touch and we can sort out a one to one training session with you.