Training recall is very important. Recall is teaching your dog to come when called. To get your dog to come when called every time, follow the following
- Never call your dog for anything your dog won’t like.
- Never call your dog if you don’t think your dog will come.
- If you make a mistake on that last rule, go “save” the recall* (See below).
- Never repeat the command—say it only once and then make yourself interesting with a high voice, clapping, squatting, etc.
- Always give your dog a HUGE payoff—lots of treats and/or something novel and special.
- If your dog comes at a time where there is something really exciting going on (guests over, squirrel running in front of him, etc.) you should give a HUGE “jack pot” reward when he comes back to make it worth his while. He will learn, that if he comes when called when there is something exciting going on, he will get a huge payoff.
How To Teach Recall
- Start by practicing simple recalls inside in an area with little to no distractions. When your dog is not highly engaged in anything, get some good treats in your hand and call him cheerfully once: “Fido, Come!” Make yourself interesting using a high voice, clapping, etc. When he gets to you, grab his collar (if you’ve been working on sits you can ask for a sit, too) then spill the treats all over the floor. Praise him profusely.
- When you get to the point where he’s running to you, excitedly, every time, try making the recall a little harder. You could call him from another room or when he’s looking out the window, or when he’s sitting with another family member, etc. Remember to “save” the recall* (See below), if you accidentally ask for one that’s beyond your dog’s level. After, try a couple easier ones at his level and work back up to the one you had to “save”. This will help him move to higher level recalls.
- If all of your indoor recalls are going great, you can try moving outside to your fenced yard. If you do this, be sure to make the recall really easy by removing all distractions, allowing him to be out in the yard for a while so that he’s bored of it, and reducing the distance he must come. Then, just like inside, you can begin to make the recalls a little harder by adding a little distance, or another family member for distraction, etc.
- You can use a long line for the first session in this new space, particularly if the space is large enough to make “saving” the recall difficult.
- The main trick is to keep it at the dog’s level so that he’s successful every time. Don’t try a harder one until the one you’re doing is a piece of cake for your dog. And don’t jump too fast—take baby steps as you make things more difficult.
*Save the Recall
Run up to your dog, wiggle a treat in his face to get his focus, and move backwards so that he comes toward you.