If there is one thing you shouldn’t skip when it comes to dog training, it is teaching your dog to heed an emergency recall. This will come in very handy especially when it comes to your dog’s personal safety.
Your dog’s safety should be your primary concern, and a precaution such as emergency recall training is worth the effort each time and every time.
Emergency recall training will vary slightly from the usual recall training that many dog owners will invest their time in. In regular dog training, you have five stages in this order:
- Get it – where your dog will do what you want him to do without asking (ex. having him sit)
- Pair it – where you establish a connection between an action and a command word
- Teach it – where you teach the dog to deliver a response to the cue, and be able to differentiate between different types of cue words
- Proof it – having your dog successfully respond to the cue even with distractions around, and
- Maintain it – which is basically self-explanatory as you expect your dog to maintain the behavior for a given amount of time.
The Most Powerful Word of All
An emergency recall word holds the most value for your dog when you associate such a word with a reward that is so generous, your dog will zero in on it each and every time. This word is linked to the recall act, but the difference is that you do not use this word as your cue.
This simply means you don’t want to use the emergency recall word in everyday situations or to simply get your dog to look or come back to you. Doing so will lose the novelty and the importance of the word, which might render it ineffective in a real emergency that truly calls for it.
Only for Emergency Situations
Again, we need to emphasize that the emergency recall word is only to be used for an emergency or in highly controlled conditions. The special signal sticks to the second stage of the training process. If you keep teaching your dog the emergency recall, there will be a big chance that you will be using it too often to the point wherein your dog is already making its way towards you.
Remember: you want to clearly differentiate between everyday recall training and emergency recall.
Avoid Testing Your Dog
If you insist on testing your dog with the emergency recall word, there will be a big chance that failure will happen due to you using it all the time. You want to keep that magical word tarnish-free from failure so if you need to extract your dog from a desperate situation using the emergency recall word, you accomplish it with 100% success each and every time.
Choosing the Recall Word
The choice of recall word to use is entirely up to you. It is better to use an actual word than a whistle, which has a higher chance of being overlooked. Some common suggestions include “now” or “run” or even “quick” – which are words that are not always used in the usual dog training vocabulary, so they rank higher in terms of novelty and your dog will be able to pick up on such words quickly.
Training for Emergency Recall
The first thing you need to do is to prepare your astoundingly amazing reward. The choice of reward will have to include the requirement of it being something that you know your dog gets super excited about. This can be a juicy slab of meat, a flavor-packed chicken breast, or something equally tasty that your dog rarely gets to eat.
Training for emergency recall will start indoors, and you should only use the emergency word just once with clarity. Feed him with a generous amount of the reward soon after, and repeat this practice four times that first day, then twice daily for two days, then twice weekly during the first month of training.
After the first month, transition your training outdoors and have your treats at the ready once the dog gets back to you after calling it. Let him have a lot of those treats again and repeat this part of the training once or even twice a week.
Remember: you must think of the emergency recall training as a “break in case of fire” type of tool – you don’t want to use it when there isn’t an emergency! It is not a part of everyday recall training because you already have your own set of cues for that, anyway.
How Effective It Is?
Just because you’ve experienced success with your practice times for emergency recall training doesn’t mean it will work perfectly when you finally execute it in a real situation. There will still be times when dogs cannot be called back unless they underwent specific training for special circumstances.
One example is using emergency recall training to call your dog back from chasing wildlife or livestock, but in other handier cases emergency recall training should be so enticing it’s hard for your dog to resist it when you say the magic word.
Recharge Your Magic Word
When you finally get to use the magic word in an emergency situation and you don’t have a reward on hand for your dog after it successfully responds to you, you need to recharge that word.
This means you have to dissolve that disappointment your dog felt after obeying you, so you need to create different scenarios later that will have you using that word and having a reward to give right after. This boosts your emergency recall word so it is primed for when you next need to use it in an actual emergency.
An emergency recall training is something that should be above and beyond regular recall training. You need to use an irresistible reward and refrain from using the word in everyday scenarios, lest you lose its magic.
After using the emergency recall word in an actual scenario, it is important for you to boost it be re-emphasizing the reward in self-constructed situations that will make it good to go the next time there is an emergency.
Are you frustrated at your dog’s poor response every time you call him? CLICK HERE to watch the FREE Video on how to get him to listen and come every time you call!
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