By teaching and reinforcing a great recall, your dog will come running your way with a single call. No more will you have to call your dog over and over, increasing in intensity and volume. But you do have to take a positive, measured approach to training this skill to keep your efforts from backfiring. Going about teaching recall the wrong way can serve to discourage and confuse your dog, after all. To get going down the right track, utilize the four following tips for training your dog to come when called.
Don’t Put Your Dog in a Position to Fail
To ensure that your dog listens to your recall command, you must commit to never putting your dog in a position to fail at providing a great recall. You can approach this by working on recall with a long lead attached to your dog’s collar. When you give the command or whistle blow, wait a few beats for a response, then initiate the recall with the long line. With this approach, you will reinforce the fact that recall commands are non-negotiable and require an immediate response.
Keep Distractions to a Minimum at First
You should also keep distractions to a minimum at first in an effort to keep your dog’s mind on the job at hand. When distractions are introduced too early, your dog could lose the ability to fully concentrate and respond to your requests. To prevent unexpected distractions, try to work with your dog in a quiet, secluded area. As you make progress, you can slowly introduce small distractions, but try not to jump ahead too quickly.
Only Give the Command Once
Although it is highly tempting, do not give your recall command more than once. Otherwise, your dog will not think to listen to the first command, and instead listen for the fifth, sixth or hundredth one instead. In fact, many dogs will not listen to any recall commands at all, or even run in the opposite direction in response, if they are only repeated over and over without any other driving factors. Therefore, keep your commands to a single utterance, and then gently demand a response with your long lead.
Always Stay Positive – and Throw Lots of Parties
Every single time your dog comes your way, make sure to have the treats or toy ready and celebrate their success. This includes when your dog comes to you without hearing the recall command. Clap your hands, give lots of pets and sing your praises to reinforce that your dog will always receive rewards when he or she arrives by your side.
We’re Here to Help
At Action K9 Training we believe that every dog learns at a different pace and has a different motivation that drives them. We want your dog to learn in the fastest and easiest way possible, whether it's with a ball, toy, food, or just good old fashion love. We can help pinpoint that motivation and help you and your dog succeed in the training process. Contact us today to learn more!