Training a reliable recall takes a lot of time and practice. I like to train two different recalls; the everyday recall and the emergency life saving conditioned recall. Both are beneficial but as their titles suggest, they are very different.
You might use your everyday recall casually. Your dog may respond to the recall on their terms. The conditioned emergency recall is used when your dog bolts out the door and is about to run into the street. During the emergency recall we condition our dog to automatically, without hesitation or thinking about what you just asked, come to you.
During this 2 part series we will look at how you train both behaviors.
- You and your dog should be in the same area, yard or house
- Get your dogs attention by stomping your feet, running the other way, making funny sounds.
- DO NOT SAY ‘COME’ UNTIL YOUR DOG GETS TO YOU. This is very important. We want your dog to associate the word ‘come’ with being next to you not with ignoring you.
- As your dog runs to you show excitement by saying ‘good boy/girl’, ‘that’s it’, ‘yippie skippy!’
- As they come to you gently grab their collar and reinforce their arrival with lots of goodies.
- When your dog is next to you say ‘come’. # 5 & 6 are done simultaneously.
If you have a partner, play the game back and forth with one another. Your dog will soon be running back and forth from person to person. It is a great exercise for your dog with little effort from you! This is a wonderful game to play with your kids.
When your dog is running to you when you call their name you can move onto stage 2
- Put your dog on a 20 foot training lead.
- Go to an area that is large and filled with distractions for your dog.
- Give your dog the entire 20 feet. Allow them to smell, play, investigate ect.; make sure the leash is loose at all times.
- While your dog is distracted say your dogs name and ‘come’. Wait a few seconds, if your dog does not come turn the opposite direction your dog is facing. Walk/run in the opposite direction that your dog is. As soon as your dog starts to follow you, keep running and verbally reinforcing. Running away from your dog will encourage them to run faster to you.
- When your dog catches up to you have them ‘sit’, gently take them by the collar, and treat.
- When you say the word ‘come’, be excited; make sounds, tell your dog ‘that’s it’ or ‘good boy/girl’. The key is to get their attention and encourage them to ‘come’ to you.
- While your dog is coming to you, quickly pull in your 20 foot leash, this will deter your dog from getting wrapped up in it.
- YOU WANT TO BE A FUN PERSON TO COME TO! MAKE SURE YOU GET EXTREMELY EXCITED (to the point of acting goofy) WHEN YOUR DOG IS COMING TO YOU.