Recall, or coming when called, is one of the most important things you can teach your dog. A strong recall not only keeps your furry friend safe but also strengthens the bond between you. In this guide, we'll walk you through some of the steps to train a perfect recall for your dog.
1. Start with the Basics:
Before diving into advanced recall training, ensure your dog understands basic cues like "sit," "stay," and "down." A strong foundation in obedience makes it easier to teach more complex commands.
2. Choose the Right Environment:
Begin recall training in a quiet, low-distraction area. A fenced garden or an empty park can be ideal. Gradually increase the level of distractions as your dog becomes more reliable with their recall.
3. Positive Associations:
Make coming to you a positive experience. Use treats, toys, and praise to reward your dog when they respond to your recall. Be enthusiastic and show genuine excitement when they come to you.
4. Consistency is Key:
Use a consistent recall cue like "Come" or "Here." Avoid using different words for the same behaviour, as this can confuse your dog. Use the cue with a firm, yet friendly tone.
5. Lead Training:
In the beginning, use a long line to prevent your dog from running away when they're learning. Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog, while still maintaining control with the long line.
6. Practice Regularly:
Repetition is crucial. Practice recall in different locations and with various distractions. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase the distance as your dog becomes more reliable.
Once your dog is consistent in low-distraction environments, practice recall in more challenging situations. This could include recall during playtime with other dogs, at the dog park, or on a busy street.
8. Avoid Punishment:
Never scold or punish your dog when they come to you, even if it took them a while to respond. You want your dog to associate coming when called with a positive experience, not fear of punishment.
9. Maintain Safety:
Ensure your dog is safe at all times. This may mean keeping your dog on a lead/long line until their recall is reliable, especially in high-risk areas near roads etc.
10. Be Patient:
Every dog learns at their own pace. Some dogs may catch on quickly, while others may take more time. Be patient, and don't get discouraged if progress is slow or if you feel you've taken a few steps backwards, being consistent and patient is key.
11. Use Real-Life Opportunities:
Incorporate recall into your daily routine. For example, call your dog when it's time for dinner or when they're about to go for a walk. This reinforces the recall cue in practical situations.
12. Keep it Fun:
Recall training should be enjoyable for both you and your dog. Make it a game, use treats, and celebrate each success. This positive reinforcement will encourage your dog to respond more consistently.
13. Seek Professional Help:
If your dog is struggling with recall despite your best efforts, consider consulting a professional dog trainer. We can provide additional guidance and strategies to help you and your dog succeed.
Remember, achieving a perfect recall takes time and patience. Be consistent in your training and always reward your dog for coming when called. With dedication and practice, you'll have a dog with a reliable recall that keeps them safe and brings you closer together. Happy training!