Training your dog often comes with many challenges, especially when you’ve run out of creative ways to get your dog to cooperate or when your dog itself has an extra-challenging behavior. It may seem like you have a higher hurdle to scale, but it also emphasizes just how important training time ought to be.
Recall training, in particular, is especially important. It helps you establish a sense of control over your dog when you are outside and even has the potential to save his life or keep him away from danger.
A Background on Recall Training
The main thing about recall training is to teach your dog a command word, sound or gesture that when he recognizes it his immediate response is to run straight back to you. The next thing that follows is to give a reward to further emphasize the success and for your dog to establish that following such a command will always yield something good for him in the end.
In recall training, the rewards have to be very irresistible for your dog to really prioritize coming back to you over every other distraction in the open. It can be a favorite treat, a beloved toy, or a game that you know he can’t resist playing.
Challenges to Recall Training
However, recall training is never easy and can translate into so many failures before you have your first taste of success. It may also not work over time, and you just might find yourself having to mix up your treats so that your dog will always remain motivated to come back to you.
You may find that there will be many situations wherein recall training will not work, especially if you are around other dogs or maybe a flock of birds. While it is important to accept that failure will be a part of your recall training experiences, it nonetheless does not excuse you from forging on ahead with this kind of training.
Because edible treats figure so much in recall training, you may look into this more closely to see what other aspects of your doggie treats and snacks you have yet to utilize in your training program.
Here’s a suggestion: why not turn your regular meal times into an opportunity to teach recall? After all, you’re already going to have to give your dog its kibble for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – there’s no harm in using the food in a short training session that will surely help your dog better establish the importance of heeding your recall word.
Turning mealtimes into a training session and using the meal itself as your dog’s training reward will work in your favor because you get to increase the number of training opportunities without necessarily pushing for a longer day or spending more for food and treats.
In fact, you can even make a grand time out of it by turning it into a fun – and reinforcing – game for your dog as he learns a very important skill: the recall!
What You’ll Need for Recall Training at Mealtimes
The good news about recall training during meal times is that you only need three things: the dog, its food that it is meant to eat for that particular meal time, and a mark. That’s it! There’s no need for extra toys or anything else.
Steps to Take
Recall training your dog during mealtimes is very short and sweet, considering how hungry your pooch probably is! This state of being he is in at the moment can also work well to your advantage, as a hungry dog will be more inclined to follow your instructions to the letter so he can satiate himself sooner. Here are the three simple steps that you need to follow:
- First, take one kibble and toss it away at a distance. Calk your dog and encourage him to go and get the kibble. This first step is important in establishing a communication line between you and your dog, so he is now primed to pay attention to you as he goes after that kibble.
- Second, when your dog takes the kibble you need to call your dog’s name and say your recall word soon after. You need to establish this cue as your dog consumes the kibble to create the connection between the words you’ve uttered and the treat that he is currently munching on.
- And finally, you will then reward your dog with yet another bit of kibble when he comes back to you.
All you need to do now is to keep repeating these three simple steps for the rest of the kibble that makes up his meal. You will notice that a meal that contains about fifty to a hundred pieces of kibble can easily translate into fifty to a hundred opportunities for you to build recall training during mealtimes.
If you and your dog are just about to begin recall training for the first time, you might find it necessary to pique your dog’s interest to run back to you by presenting the treat. A visual cue is the most effective way to go about it, especially since your dog has yet to establish the connection between your intended cue word and the reward that goes along with it.
Once you show and give him the kibble when he returns, you need to fade this aspect of your cue quickly. This will help your dog learn this new game, especially if you do it many times until he realizes that when you say that magic word there will be a nice treat waiting for him when he makes his way towards you.
When you see him giving a better response, you can proceed by hiding the kibble in your hands or behind your back. Make sure to try this in the different areas of your home and even outdoors for greater chances of success!
Have you ever tried to do recall training during mealtimes? Since you are going to feed your dog anyway, you might as well make the regular feeding time an opportunity to emphasize and perfect your recall training.
Begin with one kibble at a time and repeat until you have used up every bit from his meal, and you will realize that you actually have so many opportunities to practice recall training in a single day!
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!