Updated: Mar 18, 2019
Today on Bone Ball Bark, the blog is focused on 'BARK' which is our section for dog training tips. We wanted to do a quick post about recall by highlighting five things we think are the most important to remember on this subject!
Five things to remember with recall:
1) Never call your dog to you to punish them
You want your dog to associate coming to you when called as being the best thing in the world...full of treats and praise and good times! We believe that recall is the one of the most important commands you should teach your dog. If you call your dog to you when they have done something wrong, chances are he is not going to want to come back to you next time you call him out of fear of punishment.
2) Have an actual command for recall instead of only using their name
It is very useful to have a command like ‘come here’ when teaching recall as opposed to relying on your dog’s name. It leaves no room for argument on whether or not that is actually what you meant! You probably say the name of your dog a hundred times a day for a hundred different things...praise, exasperation, getting their attention, talking about them, talking to them etc. Therefore they can learn to tune out their name as it can have no defining meaning! It is almost like a funny sound; it is attention grabbing but with no definite action required of them. By associating ‘come here’ with actually coming to your side, you and your dog both know what that means and what is expected.
3) Resist the urge to move towards your dog to get him
So you are at the park, you call ‘come here’ and nothing happens. Your dog is 100 feet away from you just standing there staring. You try again, and still he acts like he has no idea what you are saying. Resist the urge to move towards him to go get him, as 9 out of 10 times he will bolt in the opposite direction. Instead, turn and run away from him. This will make it seem like you are playing a game of chase and he will start running towards you! The video at the bottom shows a good example of this.
4) Treats treats and more treats!
Whatever your dog’s favorite treat is, use that only for recall. He might go nuts for cheese or a specific smelly jerky and if he knows that that is what he gets for his efforts of running back to you, he is much more likely to do it! It is like someone calling you from the other room for dinner...if what's on offer is cake then you will move much faster than if it was salad!
5) Know your dog’s limit
Your dog might be fantastic at coming when called at the house or in the yard. But this doesn't mean that he will be fantastic at the park or around other distractions, especially the first few times he is exposed to these environments. Remembering to have good treats on you, and to run away from him will definitely help, but don't be afraid of putting a long leash on him so that you still have some control over him. You can use a 15ft leash to begin with and practice recall around distractions, then moving onto a 30ft leash, then no leash.