CREATING A GREAT RECALL
Recall, or coming when called, is one of the most important commands to teach a dog to obey. It is particularly important if you ever want to enjoy the pleasures of having a dog roam free on a walk, playing with other dogs or even just enjoy general social behaviour. Whilst not the easiest command to teach our dogs, by setting your pup up for success and keeping each training session simple, teaching recall can be a great bonding exercise and a load of fun! The major steps in teaching the recall are to introduce the cue and then practice in a huge number of different circumstances. Vary how far away you are from the dog and how many distractions there are.
Make it worthwhile!
While some snacks may or dry kibble may be effective at home, these may not have the same effect out in the world. It’s important, in the learning phase, you take along treats that your dog loves whether that is raw meat, cooked chicken, string cheese or liver treats. Dogs will appreciate pieces small enough that can be devoured in a split second so that they can quickly return to their other activities. Crunchy treats that fall to the ground are not preferable, as your dog will spend his time searching the ground then paying attention to you. If we make the reward for returning to us worthwhile, then your dog is going to be much more willing to return because he associates his choice to responding to you with reward.
“Come” means only good things happen
In order to make a recall fast and reliable, your dog should only associate being called to you with good things. This means that you should never call a dog or puppy for discipline, or ever punish a dog because it has taken longer to come back to us after we have called it. Although it may be frustrating, a recall should always be a positive thing and your dog should always be rewarded for choosing to come back, even if it does take a while. While at the park, call your dog back regularly, not just when you want to leave. This way, the recall is of little consequence.
Your recall word should also be spoken in a happy and cheerful voice. Using a higher pitched voice is more attractive to dogs and therefore more likely to respond to it. Teaching a recall in a gruff voice can tell your dog to stay away as you may not be a safe choice.
Stay tuned for games to play with your dog!