One of the most important aspect of dog training is teaching a reliable recall. Whether you have a puppy to train from scratch or an older dog that has “selective hearing” these simple pointers will have you well on your way to achieving that. Hardly any equipment is needed but what is recommended has links within the article to the product on Amazon.
Set your dog up for success
Begin the training indoors with minimal distractions. Once outdoors there are other things more interesting than us, such as scents, other dogs and people. If your dog is busy doing something else wait until they lose interest. If they are walking towards you already even better. Get the dogs attention and call his name. For this article we will call him Fido. Immediately give him a high value treat and give lots of praise. Keep the sessions short and fun. And repeat often throughout the day. When he comes back to you make sure he comes close and also get him to sit before you treat him. Sporadically touch his collar as well. This is important for later down the line when you take him to the dog park (See “Don’t call Fido back too much” below). If not he will soon learn to come close enough to get his treat but out of range for you to clip his lead on and take him home!
Use super tasty treats
Not those boring dry dog biscuits that he’ll take or leave. You need to use really tasty treats. Gravy bones go down well , as do Schmackos Pedigree Schmackos Multi 20 Sticks (Pack of 9). O or for a healthier homemade treat you can bake liver and cut it up into small pieces. You can also use primula cheese. Dogs love it and it’s easy to carry around. You can use a very small amount and the dog licks it from the tube.
Fido’s name = good things
Don’t ever use Fido’s name when telling him off. His name only means good things. As the training progresses and you call his name he will come running to you licking his “lips” anticipating the tasty treat that always materialises.
Moving it outside
Once Fido is coming when called consistently it is time to move the training outside. An enclosed field or garden is ideal. If that’s not possible you can use a CLIX LONG LINE 10M That way if he does get distracted and tries to run off you have more control over him. We want distractions to a minimum so no other dogs or people around. Let him have a sniff around and do his business before starting the training. You can use a Clix Multi Purpose Dog Whistle
at this stage.
Don’t call Fido back too much
If you do he’ll soon learn to ignore the constant name calling as there is no motivation to come back and it becomes background noise. Another mistake is to only call Fido back to clip his lead on and take him home. Instead call him back multiple times and give him a treat and let him go back to what he was doing. Then after doing this plenty of times and when you’re ready to leave call him back and click his lead on and give him a treat and lots of praise.
Introduce more distractions
Now you can go to the dog park and work on his recall. If Fido is playing with another dog let him get it out of his system. There’s no point calling him when he’s having a whale of a time. Remember we want to set him up for success. Once the play has stopped call him and treat when he comes over. Because of the increased distractions you may need to make yourself more interesting. Using an excited voice and a Kong Air Squeakair Ball. Training is never going to go 100% smoothly. You will have some days that are better than others. If he doesn’t come back straight away, never tell him off when he finally does. Dogs can’t rationalise like humans can and in his mind he’s being told off for coming back to you. Not for his selective hearing beforehand.
Once you have mastered a good recall it is so much more fun going on walks with your dog. They can get a good run around off lead and you can be comfortable knowing that they will always come back when called. If you have any questions or suggestions please put them in the comments box below.