How To Teach Your Dog Recall.
Teaching your dog good recall skills is essential!
Knowing they’ll come back when called means you can give them more freedom to roam and sniff on walks without putting them in any danger. In fact, recall is a skill that may even save their life one day. But when it comes to training your dog in recall skills, where should you start? Read on for the know-how.
Follow These 3 Steps + Tips
- STEP ONE)Introducing Recall: Start in a quiet, familiar environment, like your home. Standing close to your dog, & making sure they are focused on you. Show them you have a reward in your hand. Then call “Come!” as enthusiastically as you can. When they come give the treat, along with lots of praise and pets. The goal is to teach your dog that coming to you is the best, most fun thing imaginable & good things happen when she comes back.
- STEP TWO)Increase The Distance: Keep repeating the exercise over the next few days and weeks, gradually increasing the distance they must cross to get to you. If at any stage your dog doesn’t respond correctly, reduce the distance between you until she’s successful, then increase again slowly. Try to practice at random times when your dog doesn’t expect it, to get them accustomed to coming when called at all times.
- STEP THREE)Introduce Distractions: When your dog is successfully coming every time you call, you can move your practice sessions outside and begin adding distractions, like other people and other dogs that your dog has to pass on her way back to you. Note: Make sure this is done in a safe, enclosed area, like a fenced yard! Keep your dog on a long leash while practicing recall outside until you’re sure she’ll come back when you call, obeying any local laws regarding leash lengths. Never practice off-leash recall exercises anywhere there is even a remote chance that your dog could get hit by a car or fight with another dog.
Tips For Extra Success!
- Use high-value treats and toys as a reward. With lots of competing interests and distractions, you need to really motivate your dog to come to you. The usual biscuit may not cut it! Try a very small chunk of cheese or something else you know your dog loves.
- Set your dog up to win. Help your dog feel successful by waiting until she’s had a quick run around and is already coming back towards you before calling her to come.
- Don’t repeat yourself. Calling “Come! Come! Come!” over and over again will just teach your dog that she doesn’t have to listen the first time you call. If your dog doesn’t respond, take a step back in your training until you’re successful.
- Don’t call your dog only for “negative” reasons. If you only ever recall your dog to put her leash back on and go home, she’ll quickly learn that “come” means the fun is over. To avoid creating this negative association, make sure to recall your dog a few times during each play session, reward her, and then allow her to go and play again.
*If you ever need your dog to come back urgently in an emergency, don’t chase. they’ll likely think it’s a game and keep running away from you. Instead, try running away from them to incentivize them to chase you.*
Some dogs just aren’t great at coming back, and no matter how much training you do you may not feel comfortable letting them off the lead. That’s okay! Trust your instincts. Dogs still enjoy on-leash walks, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re depriving them you’re being a responsible dog parent and doing what’s best for them.
Fenced-in dog parks also offer a great opportunity for dogs to run around, play, and socialize, without any worry that they’ll get too far away.
Teaching recall can take months, so stay patient. Just remember to keep praising every success, no matter how small.
Good Luck! - Xo Miminko <3