Is getting your dog to come to you when you call turning out to be quite a challenge? When it comes to dogs, this is often true – especially when he’s faced with a lot of distractions that prevent him from being focused and attuned to his owner!
Luckily, there is such a thing as dog recall training where certain steps are taken so that your dog will realize that coming back to you will be a much better decision than focusing his attention on other things in the environment.
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Simply put, dog recall training is a mind shift change that your dog will gradually make.
Instead of commanding your dog to abandon something that he finds really exciting (ex. a pile of leaves at the park) for normal ol’ you, the strategy will have you associating your call with an exciting and interesting reward – something satisfying enough that he will always choose to race straight back to you like a rocket zooming towards outer space.
Dog recall training might seem too good to be true, but for as long as you are guided by these five ultra-important steps you are sure to be met with success after some time:
1. Show your dog that are you very delighted to have him come back to you.
When your dog makes even the slightest attempt to turn back and run to you, you must immediately make it obvious in your facial expression, body language, and voice that you are very happy to see him turn to you. This signals to him that the behavior he is showing is positive, which will make him more inclined to follow.
On the flipside, you must also never reprimand him for something naughty or inappropriate that he did before he comes back. If an admonishment is what awaits him when he gets back to you, it is very likely that he will choose not to heed your call the next time you give the command.
2. Always bring a stash of his favorite dog treats whenever you are out for a walk.
Go beyond dog kibble or biscuits and bust out the good stuff – cheese treats, dried sausage links, smoky hotdogs, and even some beef burgers that you can toss in a small plastic container.
The reward needs to be more than the usual food he can expect at home for him to feel really compelled to go back, as there is an extra-tasty reason to do so! If you go with boring treats, your dog might find that following your commands will not exactly yield satisfying rewards for him and might thus be inclined to follow next time.
3. Always expect a follow through with your dog when you call him.
Let’s say for example you call your dog and he does not respond, and then you end up shrugging to yourself while thinking, “Oh it’s okay – I’ll just call him again in a while.” This is giving your dog an opportunity to conclude that it is okay for him to go back to you sometimes and not all the time.
This is sending him the message that he can be selective when it comes heeding and responding to your call! When this happens, it will be twice as hard to get your dog to come back to you. The key is to always make him feel that his return is always expected whenever his name is called.
4. Keep your rewards interesting and varied.
You might be tempted to bring half a dozen bacon strips for this week’s walks for convenience, but you can also expect that at some point your dog will tire of the same old thing each and every time – even if it is his absolute favorite. When novelty wears off, the only solution is to make your dog think that there is something new and exciting that awaits him when he comes back to you.
Today, he might get a couple of cheese cubes, and then tomorrow it could be a few slices of bacon. Three days later, it could even be a favorite toy that you didn’t show him you brought with you to your walk at the park, and then the day after that he can be rewarded with a fun game of tag that’s followed by a good five minutes of snuggling and belly rubs.
It doesn’t always have to be food, but it must always be something that he finds really satisfying.
5. Always choose your moments to call him.
It would be very unrealistic to assume that your dog will automatically go back to you when you are in a place that’s teeming with so many distractions, such as eight other dogs in the park or a flock of pigeons. Having said that, it is very important for you to choose the best time to call your dog for the highest possibility of a response.
You might want to call him when the birds have already flown away, or when the excitement of sniffing other dogs has died down a bit. This gives him more time to refocus his attention and be in a better position to hear your call and follow it.
And if he still doesn’t come back? Simply go nearer to your dog and call him again. The closer you are, the easier it would be for him to hear you and trot back to you for that nice, juicy sausage treat!
Dog recall training will take some time, but for as long as you are consistent with these five recall training steps you and your pooch will definitely get to a point where recall is a whole lot more achievable!
Dog recall training can be difficult, but all it takes is to know what you have to be aware of at the time of training.
Responding positively, having a good mix of his favorite treats, toys and games on hand, and giving him the space and opportunity to respond to you in the best possible way are key steps in setting your dog up for success when it comes to dog recall training!
Here’s the next step:
If you’d like something as a reminder when you are recall training your dog, then download the bonus below.
You’ll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the process to ensure your dog comes to you every time you call.
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