Most people think that ‘recall’ is about training your fur-ball to run to you; its NOT. Your dog already knows how to do that! Recall is really about persuading your dog to ‘give up’ something they are enjoying (eg sniffing the bushes, chasing around with other dogs) – in order to come to you. So how do you train Fido to do that?
Make ‘Recall’ A Compelling Choice
- Saying ‘good dog’ might work for some dogs but most quickly decide that a pat on the back isn’t worth coming back for … particularly if the lead then goes on and you head home!
- Your recall cue needs to be the START or fun (not the end of it). Kay Laurence, an internationally acclaimed Dog Trainer, offers a natty little game that dogs ADORE. This game is brilliant because it tunes into your dog’s chase instinct and better still, Fido gets to catch (and kill!) the ‘prey’ … because it’s a piece of sausage. Here’s a video of Gerry playing the game.
Getting It Right
This recall game looks easy but to make it effective, you need to master the following:
- When you throw your first piece of food out, do NOT use your recall cue; this is crucial because the first throw is sending your dog AWAY from you.
- When your dog is distanced from you and has eaten the treat, that’s your recall point.
- As you give your recall cue (I use a whistle in the video), make sure you are already in position to bowl the treat so you give your dog a clear message.
- Try to ‘bowl’ the treats at your dog’s eye level – Fido needs to see the treat, to follow the game.
- Regular practice. Making any behaviour reliable requires LOTS of practise. Anyone at the top of their game has usually put in hours (if not years!) of practise. The same applies to training your dog’s recall.
- Enjoy! The more fun you have playing this game with Fido, the better your results.
If you have any questions about this article or would like advice on training your dog, please contact Joyful Dogs